Bailing Out Of Delta

Ronald Allen has been hailed for engineering the turnaround at Delta Air Lines. Now, it looks like he may have engineered his way out of a job. On May 12, after a rift with board members, Allen shook up the airline industry by announcing that he would retire this summer when his 10-year contract is up.

In his 34 years at the nation's third-largest airline, Allen, 55, piloted Delta through smooth air and turbulence. He put through the 1991 purchase of Pan Am's European routes, giving Delta global prominence, and the Northeast shuttle. Those deals were followed by four years of losses totaling almost $2 billion. Since then, Allen has launched a new regional service to compete with Southwest.

Sources close to Delta say Allen's latest maneuver--an attempt to replace CFO Thomas Roeck over the board's objections may have been the last straw for directors, particularly director Gerald Grinstein. The CEO isn't talking. His plans: to furnish his new Atlanta home and do some consulting.

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