Tomorrow's Ceo: Gregory Brenneman

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TOMORROW’S CEO: GREGORY BRENNEMAN

Statement of the Problem

What particular qualities does Brenneman have that make him a good manager?

Case Background

Greg Brenneman, an analytical whiz and people person is the man behind the turnaround of Continental Airlines. In 1994, he came on board and became the COO and applied those skills. By the following year Continental stocks began to soar and turned its only profit in 15 years.

Reviving a company like Continental takes incredible energy and Brenneman has that in abundance. Brenneman was raised as a Menonite in a small community in Kansas. His family subscribed to the church’s more progressive view and aside from which great emphasis was placed on the value of hard work.

This motivated him to go to College where he attended Washburn University in Topeka and exceptionally made a leap to Harvard Business School. He started working at Bain & Co., where he developed his reputation as a company turnaround expert. As consultant of Continental he helped lower the airlines’ maintenance costs by simply moving maintenance operation out of high-priced Los Angeles saving $65million a year.

This impressed Gordon Bethune, new CEO of Continental in 1994. He offered Brenneman the opportunity to join the company as his lieutenant, which he enthusiastically agreed.

As part of management, Brenneman took control but was shocked to discover a lot of problems between labor and management. Brenneman and Bethune started to dismantle the destructive culture by setting employee complaints, instituting profit-sharing plan, and started paying bonuses based on airline’s on-time record. They also started inculcating the value of price and accountability to their employees.

Brenneman balances his people skills with his analytical prowess. He arms himself with all relevant data before making decisions. He is a person who loves making a difference and doing it quickly.

Analysis

Continental Airlines a...
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