Tilton''s second biggest mistake

Aug 20, 2002
United taps its ex-CFO to help
Some say Hacker contributed to decline of airline
By Tom McGhee
Denver Post Business Writer

Thursday, December 12, 2002 - Bankrupt United Airlines named its former financial officer to help lead a comeback Wednesday as chief executive Glenn Tilton continued a morale-building tour.

The company named Douglas A. Hacker - who served as United chief financial officer from 1994 to 2000 - executive vice president for strategy.
Hacker, 47, will play a key role in attempts to rescue the airline, which plans to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
We must ensure that we have the right people, performing the right work, to carry out our business plan and to transform United into the competitive force that we envision, Tilton said in a statement issued Wednesday.
As CFO, Hacker was deeply involved in United's disastrous attempt to acquire US Airways and other initiatives that were unpopular with employees.
Hacker has an MBA from Harvard and a bachelor's degree in economics from Princeton University. In the newly created position, he will be responsible for all corporate strategy and will concentrate on cost reduction, customer service and operational matters, company officials said.
Since 2000, Hacker has been president of UAL Loyalty Services, the company's e-business subsidiary.
The appointment drew a sour response from Ken Bradley, a retired pilot who worked 35 years for United.

While he may be the nicest guy in the world, it is very hard for me to disassociate Mr. Hacker from the reality that he was involved in strategies that led to United's decline, he said.
Bradley estimates he has lost $600,000 in retirement funds tied to company stock and fears the bankruptcy may cost him his pension.
Shares of United's parent, UAL Corp., slid after the company filed for bankruptcy this week, bringing this year's total stock decline to 93 percent. On Wednesday shares closed at $1.21, up 13 percent from Tuesday's close.
Speculative investors drove the price up, said Richard Gritta, an airline finance expert and economics professor at the University of Portland in Oregon.
United's daily operational losses are as high as $22 million and the company is desperately looking for ways to cut costs and increase revenue.
United has moved to shore up relations with customers and employees. Tilton, who visited Denver International Airport on Tuesday, continued a tour of United's five U.S. hub airports on Wednesday.
The company's creditors are scheduled to meet at a Chicago hotel on Friday with bankruptcy trustee Ira Bodenstein. He said that United can make a presentation if it wishes, and he would begin forming a committee of creditors.
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Why is Tilton promoting the same folks who drove the company off a cliff? Isn't an outsider an essential choice for this job?
Since none of the UA regs have been seen/heard from lately I suppose we'll just have to speculate.
Don't you folks find it curious that our UA regulars just evaporated?