Continental Divide

Continental president and COO quits; CFO Kellner expected to become president.
Michelle GabrielleMay 3, 2001
  • Up, Up, and Away: Continental Airlines announced that president and COO Greg Brenneman has resigned his post to return to private equity firm, TurnWorks, which he founded before he arrived at the Houston, Tex.-based airline carrier in 1995. Brenneman joined Continental in November 1994 and became COO in May 1995. He was appointed president in September 1996.

CEO Gordon Bethune said he expects Continental’s board to promote two executives to fill the slots of COO and president. He expects CFO Lawrence W. Kellner to be named president. Kellner has been CFO since 1995. In addition to his current responsibilities of overseeing technology and finance, Kellner would also be responsible for supervising marketing, planning, real estate, scheduling, and corporate development. Prior to Continental, he was CFO of American Savings Bank. He is also a three-time winner in CFO Magazine‘s CFO Excellence Awards.

Both Brenneman and Kellner, along with Bethune, are credited with rescuing the airline from its financial woes in the 1990’s. The airline had filed for bankruptcy in 1983 and 1990. Brenneman and Kellner have been partners for six years, during which time the airline has posted 24 consecutive profitable quarters.

Last year, however, Bethune and Brenneman disagreed at a board meeting over Texas financier and Continental board member David Bonderman‘s right to buy a large stake in Continental held by Northwest Airlines Corp.. The stake has since been sold back to Continental.

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According to the company, Brenneman will remain a consultant to Continental until June 30. In addition, C.D. McLean, currently EVP of operations, is expected to be named COO.

  • Binding the Network: Houston-based computer network software maker BindView Corp. said it appointed Edward Pierce as SVP and CFO, replacing Paul Cormier. Pierce was previously EVP and CFO of Metamor Worldwide Inc.
  • Retirement, Down to a Science: Gerber Scientific Inc., a South Windsor, Conn.-based manufacturing systems maker, said CFO Gary Bennett is retiring effective June 30. The company said it would begin an immediate search for a successor to Bennett, a 19-year Gerber veteran who has been CFO and SVP since 1996.
  • Exit With Pride: Grant Prideco Inc., a Woodlands, Tex.-based drill pipe maker, announced that CFO Frances Powell is retiring to pursue personal interests. Powell will continue as CFO of the company until Sept. 1, or until the company finds her replacement.
  • A New Star: Planet Zanett Inc., a New York-based corporate business developer, announced that Jack M. Rapport has joined as CFO. Rapport was most recently EVP and CFO of The Pharmacy Fund Inc.
  • Cache Money: CacheFlow Inc., an Internet infrastructure company, appointed Robert Verheecke to the posts of SVP and CFO. Verheecke replaces Michael Johnson. Prior to joining Sunnyvale, Calif.-based CacheFlow, Verheecke was SVP and CFO at ECnet Ltd., an early-stage B2B E-commerce company serving the high-tech manufacturing industry.