Executive suite shake-up

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Wandering Aramean, Dec 14, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Interesting story developing that Mark Bergsrud, SVP Marketing and Chris Amenechi, VP Merchandising & Distribution were asked to leave the company on 13 December.

    That's a major shake-up and it will be interesting to see who is brought in to replace them. The company has certainly struggled with their marketing message since the merger and I personally know of at least a few glitches on the distribution side of the house, though it is not clear if this move is tied to specific events or more general problems.
     
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  2. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

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    Merchandising & Distribution refers to what exactly in the airline industry and in this context?
     
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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Distribution is partnerships with OTAs, GDSes and such, making sure that the product can be sold through various channels.
     
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  4. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    Wow...actually rather shocked.
     
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  5. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    Haven't seen this in the trade press / financial press yet...
     
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  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    What was their role pre-merger?
     
  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It isn't always the big press which breaks a story. ;)

    I just got off the phone with a United PR rep. The two named above are, in fact, no longer employed at the company.

    As part of the announcement yesterday about Smisek also becoming Chairman they reorganized the executive leadership team. Marketing and Loyalty are now managed as a single group rather than split. That group is run by Tom O'Toole, formerly President of MileagePlus.

    The PR rep I spoke to offered this by way of explanation:
    I'm also intrigued as to what this may mean for MileagePlus. Same guy is still in charge but obviously there is a lot of potential for things to change.
     
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  8. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    Was this posted from a UA319 with wifi?
     
  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I wish.

    Actually, I asked Bergsrud directly about getting access to that plane when the system went live to test and review it. He blew me off. Maybe that's why he got fired.
     
  10. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Don't mess around with the GME. ;)
     
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  11. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    Still shocked.
     
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  12. HeathrowGuy
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    HeathrowGuy Gold Member

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    I'm not. Candidly, while the front lines of United have largely stabilized or quieted down, the executive offices are NOT a land of Kumbaya, to put it mildly.
     
  13. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Tough position for the marketing person for the past 18 months or so for United. Aside from "look at this shiny new 787," United's marketing message has been non-existent.

    They need a tangible, credible and warm/fuzzy message to send out. "The Friendly Skies" was a great message. And while it's easy to say "do what you did in the past," in the current flying environment, including an unfriendly security process and jam-packed airports, "The Friendly Skies" sure seems to be a good thing to use nowadays.
     
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  14. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    It's the person who heads the major computer systems of UA that should have been asked to leave. Three major outages in a year is nothing short of embarrassing.

    -Rob
     
  15. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    I believe two of the three instances were caused by loss of connectivity, something usually purchased from a third-party provider, and not any actual system downtime. I have no real details to prove any of that out, but there are still some things beyond UA's control.
     
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  16. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    The statement that they have been 'let go' from the company is very forceful and quite unusual. It might imply a serious internal disagreement.
     
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  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Is that phrase in an official statement?
     
  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Sure, but someone picked the 3rd party provider. It's of course easy to speculate/debate this without having any insight into what's really happening, but... since this is MilePoint, that's what we do. So... were fall-back options considered and implemented? (we have redundancy in all major parts of the aircraft, I would hope they also have that for mission critical IT systems?)
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The official statement was confirmation that they are no longer employed. Off the record (and from a different source) I heard they were asked to resign rather than outright fired. I tend to conflate those from time to time because they mean the same thing to me in the end but I do understand there is some nuance there. Still, it was not the decision of those two that they are no longer employed by United Continental Holdings, Inc.

    Yes and no. You don't build an operation like an airline with single points of failure. There was the WAN outage earlier this year where the systems should have failed over to the alternate site. They didn't. Why not?? That is the sort of thing which should be fool-proof and tested. Obviously there was a mistake made somewhere along the line but the systems didn't operate like they should have when the connectivity was lost. Maybe the circuit was flapping instead of being a hard down and that got in the way. Maybe it was something else. But there are ways to plan around connectivity issues, even when that connectivity is provided by a 3rd party.
     
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  20. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    By that criteria, the heads of IT for AA, VX, and I believe AS should all leave too. Possibly others that I haven't been following closely.
     
  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    AA got a new CIO about a year ago.
     
  22. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    And since then they've had a bunch of outages.
     
  23. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Is that because of the new CIO or despite, though?
     
  24. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    No one on here knows or is allowed to say with any official authority, just like no one on here knows or is allowed to say with any official authority who is at fault for the UA outages.
     
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  25. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    Mergers almost always have their 'shake-ups', some of the most significant occur after the primary combination process has been completed. Further, these shake-ups can sometimes signal a settling down to business rather than more change as this would have been the most likely time to make other moves, too.
     
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