The Wall Street Journal has been quite humorous this week in covering the UA-CO merger:
Two years ago, Continental Airlines Inc. spurned United Airlines’ proposal to marry, believing the time wasn’t right.
On Monday, Jeff Smisek, Continental’s chairman and chief executive, said he always knew United was "the right partner" for his airline…
The merger flames were kindled April 7, when Mr. Smisek learned from media reports that UAL Corp. CEO Glenn Tilton and his team were in advanced merger talks with US Airways Group Inc.
"My best partner was talking to another girl," Mr. Smisek recalled in an interview Monday. "But we’re the prettiest girl at the dance."…
"The stars were aligned," Mr. Smisek said. "This is a match made in heaven."…
Known for speaking his mind, Mr. Smisek’s bluntness was on display Monday as he and Mr. Tilton announced the deal. Regarding UAL’s talks with US Airways, Mr. Smisek told analysts, "I didn’t want him to marry the ugly girl."
Asked later if he was referring to US Airways CEO Doug Parker, Mr. Smisek said, "I’m not talking about Doug. I think he’s a very handsome man.”
Talk about u…never mind. • photo courtesy Getty Images
Apparently Doug Parker didn’t appreciate the humor. As Scott McCartney reports:
On Tuesday, US Airways Chief Executive Doug Parker sent a note to his employees saying the ugly quip had hit a nerve with many, including him, and if the airline industry was a beauty contest, Continental had plenty of blemishes of its own.
“Like me, many of you found his comment both chauvinistic and offensive to the hard-working people of US Airways,” Mr. Parker said in his message to his employees.
Oh, please. I think I’m going to like this Smisek guy–and this too:
The new CEO also promptly said he would refuse his $730,000 annual salary and any bonus until Continental turned a profit for a full year.
Good way to win the embittered UA employees to your side. Would Tilton do the same thing?
United Airlines Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton has agreed to give up cash severance of $4.6 million in exchange for restricted shares worth the same amount if his airline combines with Continental, United said in a filing Tuesday.
That must have hurt.
BTW, Smisek apologized.
Mr. Parker said Mr. Smisek had sent him an apology saying he “got carried away in the moment,” “really felt badly” and “had no good excuse.” “I believe Jeff was sincere in his apology, have accepted it on behalf of all of us and am ready to move past it,” Mr. Parker said.
Was an apology really necessary? As President Truman said, "if you can’t take the heat, get out of the