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October 16, 2003
Continental Pilots Challenge Board Members’ Conflict of Interest
HOUSTON---Pilots at Continental Airlines (CAL), the nation’s fifth largest airline, are expressing serious concern over a potential for conflicting loyalties on the part of long-standing airline board members David Bonderman and William S. Price III.
"Mr. Bonderman has brought a tremendous amount of financial and airline savvy to Continental. We deeply appreciate his exceptional abilities and contributions to the success of our carrier," said Capt. Jay Panarello, chairman of the Continental pilots union’s Master Executive Council, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association.
"Nevertheless, the point has been made that his relationships with other airlines, including some that compete directly with Continental, are a conflict of interest. We share these concerns," said Panarello.
Bonderman, the founder and president of Texas Pacific Group (TPG) who once held a controlling interest in Continental, recently divested most of his financial interest in the airline, selling 880,000 shares of Continental stock. Price, a fellow founder of TPG, likewise has been a member of the CAL Board of Directors for several years.
TPG members sit on the America West Airlines’ Board of Directors. Bonderman has courted similar roles at US Airways, Air Canada and United Airlines.
"As Continental employees, we are required to give 100 percent of our effort and loyalty to our airline," noted Panarello. "We expect the same level of commitment from those working throughout our airline, including those serving at the highest levels."
"Therefore, we are calling on Mr. Bonderman and Mr. Price to relinquish their interests in other airlines if they wish to maintain their positions at Continental – or immediately resign from the company’s board of directors." said Panarello. "We must have, both in perception and fact, their undivided loyalty. Anything less is unacceptable."
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) is the bargaining agent for 6,500 pilots of Continental and Continental Express. ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, representing 66,000 airline pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. The ALPA Web site is at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA contact: Jim Moody, 281-987-3636