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|Monday, October 29, 2001, updated at 09:25(GMT+8)|
United Airlines CEO ResignsUnited Airlines replaced embattled chairman and chief executive James Goodwin on Sunday with board member John Creighton, less than two weeks after Goodwin's warning that the carrier could ``perish'' next year sent its stock into a tailspin.
The parent company of the nation's second-biggest airline, UAL Corp., said Goodwin had resigned and released a statement quoting him as saying it was ``the right time for a new leader.''
But its choice of the 69-year-old Creighton, the retired head of Weyerhaeuser Co., came with the company under enormous pressure from shareholders and employees to oust Goodwin.
Creighton, who was CEO and president of the timber giant from 1991-97 and a UAL board member since 1998, acknowledged he is an interim leader. He said he will head Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based United ``until we are confident that the company is on the road to financial stability and has the leadership in place to ensure a thriving United.''
Creighton said his immediate goal is to restore United's financial stability. While he remains chairman of Unocal Corp., he said that post won't prevent him from being a full-time chairman and CEO of UAL.
Goodwin's departure ends a stormy 2 1/2 years as United CEO, including a failed merger with US Airways and labor turbulence that resulted in 26,000 canceled flights in the summer of 2000. That operational turmoil ended only when the airline reached a costly contract settlement with its pilots that helped send industry costs spiraling out of control.
But what hastened his departure was a letter to employees which became public Oct. 16, in which he said the airline was hemorrhaging cash following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and could ``perish'' by next year.
Two unions representing United employees called for his resignation, saying he had panicked investors and employees alike without justification. The company's stock has fallen 25 percent since the letter went public, closing Friday at a 14-year low of $13.93 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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