Anderson leaves Northwest

Northwest Airlines chief executive Richard Anderson stunned the industry in October by announcing he was stepping down for a senior position at major US insurer UnitedHealth Group.

That left the top job to Northwest president Doug Steenland, 53, a long-time attorney for the airline who had shared executive responsibilities with Anderson, 49, since 2001.

Steenland insisted there would be no major changes in Northwest operations. Steenland, whose portfolio had already included labour relations, said winning a concessionary pilot contract was the top priority. A former aviation lawyer in Washington and an architect of Northwest's alliance with KLM and later with SkyTeam, Steenland said: "The airline strategy is set. There's no need to rethink it."

Anderson's departure, along with the pending retirement of Gordon Bethune at Continental, means every major US carrier has undergone a change in top leadership since 11 September 2001.

Steenland named a 10-person top team including Andy Roberts, executive vice-president of operations; Tim Griffin, executive vice-president of marketing and distribution; and Phil Haan, executive vice-president of international, alliances and information technology, as well as chairman of NWA Cargo. The team also includes chief financial officer Bernie Han as well as Barry Simon, who joined as executive vice-president and general counsel last month. Simon was a senior executive at Continental from 1982 to 2003, when he took early retirement as part of a cost-cutting move. He was then managing director at investment bank and consulting firm Seabury Group.




Source: Airline Business