Continental Airlines` (NYSE: CAL and CAL.A) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gordon Bethune has been named one of the 50 best CEOs in America by Worth magazine. This is the second consecutive year that Bethune has been named to the list, which appears in the magazine’s May issue.
Bethune was the only airline chief executive who made the list. Other executives recognized included CEOs of a wide range of successful corporations, including AT&T, Microsoft, Home Depot, Ford Motor Company and United Parcel Service.
The Top 50 CEOs were described as “skilled managers of human capital” whose “doors, e-mail boxes, and - most importantly - minds stay open.”
Worth’s Top 50 CEOs were nominated by Wall Street analysts and selected for having “exemplary management styles, coherent vision for the future, and a belief that part of their job was to lead a socially responsible company.”
“Bethune realized that airlines are a service, not a utility ... So, when he took over the miserable, twice-bankrupt Continental in 1994, Bethune focused on labor relations, copying the best management techniques of 1980s Japan in an attempt to end late flights, lost baggage and chronic absenteeism,” said Worth magazine.
Bethune, who ranked 40th on this year’s list, joined Continental Airlines in February 1994 as president and chief operating officer. He was named chief executive officer in November 1994 and chairman of the board in September 1996.
Worth is an upscale, monthly personal finance and business magazine for people who are passionate about business, investing and financial well being. It reaches one million loyal readers with a median net worth of more than $1 million. Edited by John Koten and started in 1992, Worth is the flagship publication of Worth Media.
Continental Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the U.S., offering more than 2,200 departures daily to 135 domestic and 89 international destinations. Operating major hubs in Newark, Houston and Cleveland, Continental (www.continental.com) has extensive service throughout the Americas, and to Europe and Asia.
Continental is in the top quarter of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America,” and has won first or second place Frequent Flyer Magazine and J.D. Power awards for four consecutive years.