United promotes and pushes aside

2598958385_2a81d19eaf.jpgMaybe it’s reading too much into the tea leaves, the way Cold War-era Kremlinologists used to when they’d try to second guess who was in and who was out by where they stood in line at various Soviet photo shots, but we were not overjoyed to read that United Airlines had separated the two feuding customer service guys who’d been involved in its disastrous decision to start selling food on some international flights. Even though United backed off of that decision and did so quickly in the face of a barrage of protest, the mere fact that it thought it could do something like that indicated a strange sort of tone deafness to.

Now, comes word that it has promoted the guy who had the idea in the first place, making its senior vice president of marketing, Dennis Cary (right), into its senior vice president and chief marketing and customer officer, while pushing over to the side its former chief customer officer, Graham Atkinson. Atkinson (at the bottom of the photo to the left) had fought the idea and indeed has been the man inside United who has tried to keep the airline in the game
of keeping global high flyers despite the cutbacks. Atkinson is now president of Mileage Plus, the airline’s loyalty program, and will concentrate on developing the frequent-flyer plan into a stand-alone business.

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