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Gordon Bethune

Headed One of the Most Dramatic Turnarounds in the Airline Industry When He Brought Continental Airlines from the Bottom of the Heap to the Top

Gordon Bethune

Travels From:

Texas, United States

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“A big, blustery, no-nonsense executive, Mr. Bethune has the timing of a stand-up comic. But in between the jokes, what he has to say is pretty serious, and Continental’s competitors would do well to take it to heart.” The New York Times
In the airline industry, few names inspire as much awe, admiration, and accolades as Gordon  Bethune. At Continental Airlines, Bethune spearheaded one of the most dramatic corporate turnarounds in United States history. When he joined the troubled carrier as president and COO in 1994, Continental consistently ranked last in every measurable performance metric, including on-time performance, customer complaints, and mishandled baggage. He became CEO nine months later and was elected chairman of the board of directors in 1996. When he finished working his magic at Continental, the airline stood at the top of the heap, ranked by Fortune magazine as the No. 1 “Most Admired Global Airline.” He retired in 2004. Gordon Bethune speaks from a lifetime of experience and success in one of the world’s most complex businesses. He impresses audience with his unique brand of witty humor and management wisdom, on topics ranging from customer service, employee relations, and motivation, and he explains how “happiness” at every level is the unspoken key to success.
First in Flight. Bethune’s herculean effort to rescue Continental Airlines from its seemingly-irreversible nosedive is chronicled in his best-selling business novel From Worst to First. His prose, like his personality, was described by Bloomberg Businessweek as “refreshingly straightforward,” and his “plain-spoken management style” comes through in every page.

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Phone: (602) 346-8011
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