Sep 8th, 2015
- Dear fellow employees:
- Today we are announcing a series of executive changes, which are effective immediately. I recognize that this news is unexpected, and I want you to hear it directly from me, as United’s new CEO.
- Jeff Smisek, Nene Foxhall, EVP of communications and government affairs, and Mark Anderson, SVP of corporate and government affairs, have stepped down from their roles. These departures are in connection with United’s previously disclosed internal investigation related to the federal investigation associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
- In addition, the company announced Henry L. Meyer III, a current United director and the lead independent director, has been named non-executive chairman of the board.
- As we move forward, let me take a moment to tell you a little bit about myself. As you may know, I have been on the board of directors of United, and previously Continental, for more than a decade. I am also a longtime United customer. Before today, I was the president and COO of CSX, one of the largest railroads in North America. Prior to that, I worked for several well known consumer brands including AT&T, Pepsico, and The Coca-Cola Company.
- I took this job because I am excited by what we can do together. There is incredible opportunity for innovation, for earnings growth, and for improving an experience that is essential to the vitality of global business and to the personal lives of millions of people. I will be relentless in pursuing these goals, and I hope and expect that all of you will share that same passion.
- In the coming weeks, I will be making my first visits around the system. I want to talk to as many of you as possible because I want to get to know you and what you think about how things are going. How can we operate better? How can we better serve our customers? What support do you need to deliver that? You’ll be seeing me frequently; I intend to regularly travel the system to hear about our operations directly from you – and you can hold me accountable for that.
- In my career, I’ve found that three things are critical to any successful business. First, we must focus on customers and what we can to do help them. In the telecommunications, consumer products and railway businesses, there are very real consequences if you don’t meet the consumer’s needs and desires. There are also substantive rewards for doing so, and especially for exceeding customer expectations. Every day, you win or lose customers based on the slightest change in value and quality.
- As you know, in the airline business, this is especially critical. Getting people where they want to go, reliably and happily, can make or break their ability to succeed in a work endeavor or to hug a family member at an important moment.
- At United, I will dedicate myself to making our airline flyer-friendly.
- Second, in any organization, especially a great airline, it’s all about teamwork. I like to refer to this as “shared purpose.” We are in a service business, and the thousands of people who work here are the key ingredient determining our success. To get our passengers where they want to go safely and happily requires thousands of us working together with a shared purpose of supporting each other in serving our customers. To achieve this, we must create and sustain a respectful dialog about our common goals – an ongoing conversation among ourselves. We cannot do this apart.
- Third, I am excited to be a part of a company and industry that demands innovation. The world around us is changing. There are new forms of loyalty programs and affinity groups, a constantly changing regulatory environment, plus new digital and networking technologies that are emerging on a daily basis. At United, we will embrace this change, and make this an energized and exciting place to work.
- Above all, my career has taught me that safety is paramount. Our passion for the safety of our people and our customers must be at the core of everything we do.
- As we bring this airline forward, I promise to hold true to these principles of customer focus, teamwork through our shared purpose, continual innovation, and of course, safety.
- I want our customers, my fellow workers, and our communities to respect each other and take pride in our accomplishments. Thank you for your dedication to our customers and to United, and I look forward to meeting you soon.
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