- The Washington Times - Monday, September 2, 2002

CHICAGO (AP) United Airlines' board of directors has called a special meeting for today amid reports it is poised to select an oil company executive as its new chairman and chief executive officer.
Glenn Tilton, 54, vice chairman of ChevronTexaco Corp. and acting chairman of struggling Dynegy Inc., has emerged as the front-runner to replace interim CEO Jack Creighton, several reports said. He could be named to the job today.
But both the company and union sources said yesterday that no final decision had been made.
United spokesman Joe Hopkins called the reports speculation and said the airline does not comment on rumors.
The pilots union, which has a seat on the board of United parent UAL Corp., declined to comment on Mr. Tilton's chances of winning the post. But a spokesman said the pilots have a positive view of Mr. Tilton although he has no experience in the airline industry.
"Based on the reports we've seen, he's a good man," spokesman Herb Hunter said yesterday. "We need some leadership. Right now we're a ship without a rudder, going through some rough seas."
Mr. Tilton last year was named chairman and chief executive officer of Texaco Inc., the nation's second-largest oil company, shortly before it was formally acquired by Chevron Corp. He was named to the board of embattled Dynegy in January and became interim CEO in May. San Francisco-based ChevronTexaco holds a 26.5 percent stake in Dynegy.
His previous posts included president of Texaco USA, president of Texaco Refining and Marketing, and head of Texaco's Global Businesses unit.
The other finalist for the United job John Walker, a UAL director and CEO of Weirton Steel Corp. also has no experience running an airline. But financially ailing United, which is trying to avoid bankruptcy, has had no luck attracting an industry veteran since it began its four-month search.
Mr. Creighton earned the respect of United's unions, but he turned 70 and had said he wanted to return to retirement. A UAL board member, he took the post in October when James Goodwin resigned under pressure.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, first reported on its Web site Saturday that Mr. Tilton had won the support of the UAL board but not formal endorsement.
The Journal and two other publications, the Chicago Tribune and Crain's Chicago Business, said two other United executives are expected to depart at the same time as Mr. Creighton. They cited sources as saying Rono Dutta, UAL's president, and Andy Studdert, the chief operating officer, likely would step down.
Both have been under fire from United's unions for more than a year.
UAL has posted losses of nearly $3 billion in the past 18 months and has threatened to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this fall if it can't get its costs down dramatically and win a government loan guarantee.
Mr. Creighton, who had vowed not to preside over a bankruptcy filing, set a Sept. 16 deadline for unions to agree on $2.5 billion in annual cost cuts for the next six years, including $1.5 billion from the unions themselves.
The pilots are being asked to shoulder the biggest burden, an estimated $750 million to $800 million, said a source familiar with the proposal who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The machinists have put their total of requested givebacks at $450 million, and the flight attendants' share is said to be $100 million. That would leave $100 million to $150 million in cuts for United's white-collar salaried employees.

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