ecently Ed Colodny, chairman and president of
USAir, and I announced to the respective employee
groups of Piedmont and USAir that all agent person
nel presently employed by these airlines would be
offered jobs following the merger of the two airlines.
This announcement—along with earlier assur
ances that all reservations facilities would be main
tained, that Piedmont expansion programs at both
Baltimore and Charlotte would go forth, and that
our Charlotte/London service would continue—
should amply demonstrate that managements of
both airlines are dedicating a great deal of attention
towards protection of existing jobs. We hope to add
further assurances to as many employees as possi
ble as plans for the merger progress.
My 40 years’ experience at Piedmont has con
vinced me that Piedmont’s management has always
placed the highest priority on the best interests of
its employees. Indeed, I take pride in having partici
pated over the years in policy decisions directed to
wards such goals. During these years 1 have also
observed USAir closely as a well managed airline.
1 am convinced that fairness to their workforce is a
firmly-entrenched policy at USAir and will be a hall
mark of the combined company.
We are also committed to an accelerated upgrad
ing of part-time employees to full-time positions at
Piedmont. At the same time, we recognize that part-
time employment is preferred by many of our cur
rent part-time workers, and we will work carefully to
preserve positions for this group as well.
1 believe each of the events in this sequence
should demonstrate amply that senior managers of
both companies are dedicated to making our
merged airline one that truly will work for our cus
tomers, for the communities we serve, and for you.
our loyal employees.
Chairman, President, and
Chief Executive Officer
volume 38, number 7
McGee takes over Piedmont's helm
Bill McGee, a 40-year Piedmont veteran who
has been a major force behind the company's
phenomenal success story, has been elected
chairman of the board, president, and chief ex
ecutive officer, the third person to head the cor
poration since the company’s founding in 1940.
McGee replaces Bill Howard who resigned from
Piedmont on August 13 to pursue another oppor
tunity in the aviation field.
“I believe perhaps no one knows more Pied
mont people or has a better understanding of our
corporate culture than I do,” McGee said. "I
know our system, I know our people, and I know
our communities. I believe this will contribute to
a very smooth transition.”
McGee joined Piedmont in 1947, seven years
after the company was founded as an aircraft
sales and service operation and eight months be
fore Piedmont flew its first flight. T.H. Davis,
Piedmont's founder, hired McGee as director of
flight services. McGee was among a handful of
dignitaries aboard Piedmont's DC-3 on February
20, 1948, for the airline’s inaugural flight.
McGee was named passenger sales manager in
1950, general sales manager in 1956 and, in 1964,
assistant vice president-sales. In 1968 he was
elected to the position of vice president-marketing
and, in 1979, to senior vice president-marketing.
He served as senior vice president-marketing
until December 1986 when he was elected execu
tive vice president.
McGee is a member of Piedmont's Board of
Directors and also serves on the Board of Direc
tors of Henson Aviation, Inc., which includes
Henson Airlines, The Piedmont Regional Airline.
A former Navy pilot, McGee holds a commer
cial pilot's license with a multi-engine and in
Widely-respected for his marketing acumen in
the airline industry, McGee is the only individual
to hold the chairmanship of the Air TVansport
Association of America’s Air Traffic Conference
‘‘1 recognize that I am following in the steps of two
Bill McGee at
great leaders. 1 find that to be a positive situation,”
McGee said. “First, 1 am grateful that our Board of
Directors has placed its trust and confidence in me
to be a proper successor to the heritage left by Mr.
Davis and Mr. Howard. Second, I believe 1 am for
tunate in having a strong management team and
the industry’s most dedicated, professional work
force supporting my leadership.”
At a press conference at headquarters on August
13, McGee stressed to the media that ”the com
pany will continue right straight down the track
that it’s going.” He added that he does not believe
the resignations of Howard and Gordon Bethune,
former senior vice president-operations, fore
shadow an exodus of other Piedmont executives.
‘‘We feel that there will be a place (at USAir) for
all the management people, ” he said. ‘‘We have
a strong team that has established a very suc
cessful track record.”
Howard joined Piedmont in 1978 when it was the
smallest of 17 certified trunk and regional jet air
lines in the United States. Under his leadership, the
Piedmont family has grown from 5,000 to nearly
22,000 employees, and our fleet from 35 to 173 jet
aircraft. Piedmont’s strategies of adapting to a de
regulated environment have seen Piedmont grow
to a position among the nation's ten largest air
lines with annual revenues in excess of $2 bil
lion. Piedmont has also been one of but three air
lines to have earned a profit every year since
deregulation of the industry in 1978. Howard has
agreed to lead an effort by United's pilots' union
to take over United Airlines.
Bethune has left Piedmont to pursue a career
outside the airline industry. During his three
years at Piedmont, the airline has lead the indus
try in fleet expansion, on-time performance, and
the development of such important safety pro
grams as TCAS and airborne windshear detec
tion systems. Most recently. Piedmont concluded
the FAA's industrywide review of operational pro
grams with the highest marks of any major air
line inspected to date, and Bethune has been a
strong contributor in each of these areas.
McGee said that his first priority would be to
develop firm goals and to communicate the goals
to the people of Piedmont.
‘‘Clearly our pending merger with USAir will
be at the top of that list,” McGee said. ‘‘If this
merger is done properly, it should be extremely
beneficial to the stockholders of both companies,
the communities we serve and the employees of
both Piedmont and USAir. I believe this can best
be achieved by continued growth at Piedmont,
continued outstanding service to our communi
ties and individual passengers, an^ maintaining
the high morale our work force has enjoyed dur
ing the era of airline deregulation.”
McGee attended the University of Iowa and
Cornell University. He is currently the member
representative for Piedmont at the Air TVaffic
Conference of America and is a member of the
policy committee of the conference. He is also a
member of the National TVavel Marketing T^sk
Force working with the Department of Commerce.
In addition, he is a member of the Winston-Salem
Sales Executive Club, the Winston-Salem Rotary
Club, and the N.C. Ttavel Council.