Specter of Conflict of Interest, Union Says
The Air Line Pilots Association sent us this note:
Pilots at Continental
Airlines, 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
"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,"
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
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."