- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
American CEO faces turbulence
New company head looking for a quick exit from bankruptcy
FORT WORTH, Texas — It took Thomas W. Horton 26 years to reach the corner office, but the promotion came with a catch:
His company was going into bankruptcy protection.
Mr. Horton was elevated from president to CEO of American Airlines parent AMR Corp. on a late-night phone call in November. On the same call, the company’s board approved the decision to file for Chapter 11 the next morning. Mr. Horton says he got little sleep, knowing he would have to explain the move to thousands of investors, employees, business partners and reporters.
The filing wasn’t a surprise. American, once the world’s biggest airline and known for innovations such as the frequent-flier program, had lost more than $10 billion since 2001. Fuel and labor costs soared, competitors grew bigger and tougher, dropping American to third place in the U.S. airline industry. The company seemed to lack fresh ideas. Investor patience with CEO Gerard J. Arpey was running out.
Mr. Horton, 50, a devoted runner who trains for marathons, wants to set a fast pace and push American through bankruptcy. He says the company can’t afford to move slowly in Chapter 11 unless it wants to be sold to a rival or broken up. He’s willing to make unpopular moves — he wants to cut 13,000 jobs.
Mr. Horton sat down for an interview with the Associated Press in his sixth-floor corner office, with a view of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on the horizon. Here are excerpts from the interview, which was edited for length:
Q: Did the board think AMR needed a new face as CEO going into restructuring?
A: I think Gerard has said publicly that his view was that maybe I was better wired for this task. I don’t know if that’s true or not. Time will tell.
Q: What’s it like to lead a company during this kind of turmoil?
A: I’ll get back to you in about a year.
A: This is a company that hasn’t had many CEOs, and it’s unique in that regard. That is humbling. … I feel the weight of the office and I do talk to these folks. I hear from Bob, and I talk to Bob often, and I hear from Gerard.
Q: Do they offer advice or do they just say, “Hang in there?”
A: I would say they’re pretty good about offering advice when asked for it.
Q: They don’t offer it unsolicited?
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- N. Korean news agency: Kim Jong Un's uncle executed
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow