- Paperback: 252 pages
- Publisher: Targetmark Books (Management Advisory Services) (October 17, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0977207609
- ISBN-13: 978-0977207602
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Airline Without A Pilot - Leadership Lessons/Inside Story of Delta's Success, Decline and Bankruptcy
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"..refreshingly candid and unrestrained." "..story of human drama and shocking corporate malfeasance." "..advice for working with consultants is particularly astute." -- Bookwire (December, 2005)
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While I found the book interesting, it's lack of depth is obvious. The author went to great pains to point out Ron Allen was out of his depth. Duh? This is not exactly breaking news. I was looking for a more in depth analysis of exactly how Ron came to be CEO. Is the popular story that he was Mr. Bebe's son's college roomate at Georgia Tech true? The timeline is that Bebe retired, named Garrett CEO, and Garrett named Ron Allen as president.
This event shocked the whole corporation, as it was commonly assumed that Hollis Harris would be named President. Nolan makes no attempt to address this point, nor to address the relationship between Bebe, Garrett, Allen, and Harris. One commonly held theory is that Mr. Bebe retired early only on the guarantee that Mr. Garrett would name Ron as president. In that case Mr. Garrett was screwed, as Mr. Bebe knew that he was dying of terminal cancer when he resigned. Did David Garrett know that? I would think not. As an aside point Mr. Bebe's retirement contract gave him a great deal of money ...500K per year...as a consultant, and if he did not live to the length of the consultant contract the money would be paid to his heirs. Nice deal.
Nolan also made no attempt to address the sudden resignation from the board of directors Mr. Biedenharn. A member of the Biedenharn family had served on the Board of Directors of Delta Air Lines since it's begining. The Biedenharn family owns the Ouachita, Louisana Coca Cola franchise. And their company held lot of Delta stock. Mr. Biedenharn resigned from the board in the same time frame that came to see Ron Allen named president. Mr. Nolan completely missed that point. Or chose not to discuss it, for fear of offending someone.
Overall, I saw the book as a fluff piece. I am Nolan, a consultant, and I am looking for more work.
On the 50th anniversary of Delta Air Lines, the company comissioned a history, written by two history professors. The book told the whole story, warts and all.
I hope that maybe some day Delta will update that story, and we will learn what really happened at the company where I spent my life at. Maybe the current CEO, Mr. Anderson will commission a 100th anniversary history in 2024.
Until then, we can only speculate, and Nolan's book offers nothing to clarify what really happened.
To the many friends I have that are still at Daddy Delta, and to those who have retired, I wish you well.
Nolan seems to take pleasure in destroying the image of Delta Air Lines, which towards the end of the book he admits he has personal interests in Delta in the form stock that lost an enormous amount of value after several event caused Delta's stock price to plunge. Nolan is neither competent enough or neutral enough to write this book.
I am not saying that Delta has not had its problems. All companies have. What I am saying is that if you read this book check the facts and figures yourself. Do not simply take Nolan's word on anything in this book.