Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune Shares Success Story at AMI ExpoFriday, April 15, 2011
(American Meat Institute)
Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon
Bethune shared his journey from mechanic to
head of a major airline and what it took to
turn the struggling company around during a
lively General Session today at the 2011 AMI
Meat, Poultry & Seafood Industry Convention
and Exposition at
Bethune’s marketing strategy, “Fly to Win,” meant changing destinations, offering frequent flyer incentives and a new business class package.
“You can make a pizza so cheap no one would eat it. You can make an airline so cheap, no one will fly it,” Bethune said.
Bethune’s financial plan, “Fund the Future” consisted of sending back inventory and reinvesting into the company. Using this capital, he created a more fuel-efficient fleet.
When it came to drafting a product plan, Bethune said he asked himself, “How do you win when you are in (last) place? You have to have a good product. We were not a good product.”
Bethune knew that what customers wanted most was to arrive on time to their destinations, so he offered everyone in the company incentives for meeting performance benchmarks.
The final component of Bethune’s strategy -- the people plan -- started with communications. Bethune made sure employees were heard and that they were informed. He also implemented a profit-sharing system and rewards for dependability.
“There is a 100 percent correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction,” Bethune said.share on facebook share on twitter