GORDON BETHUNE, NAMED CEO of Continental Airlines on Nov. 3, is already shaking up the ailing company. The former Boeing executive told BUSINESS WEEK that his early plans include grounding eight Airbus planes, or about 5% of capacity, effective in January. And on Nov. 7, Continental announced that it will close its Los Angeles and Denver maintenance facilities. The company plans to outsource the work, cutting about 1,640 jobs. Bethune also has made symbolic changes at Houston headquarters: He has dismantled the security cameras in the lobby outside the executive suite, disarmed a "panic button" at his secretary's desk, and opened the doors to all employees, not just those with special entrance cards.

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