“"I've got a list of corporations that have gotten out of their airplanes [because of criticism from politicians]. It is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. When you look at the time and cost savings; it does not make sense not to fly [privately]. You can't let public perception interfere with your business decision to fly. It either is a good business decision or it isn't."”
Industry Pioneer Richard Santulli Resigns
Richard Santulli resigned as chairman and CEO of NetJets, which has been owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway since 1998. [See related stories on pages 4 and 50.--Ed.] Santulli founded the firm, which introduced the fractional-ownership concept, in 1986. He will remain with the company as a consultant for at least a year.
Some sources suggest that NetJets' financial troubles might have led to Santulli's resignation. Just three days after his announcement, the company reported that revenues in the first half of this year were $1.024 billion lower than in the first half of 2008--a 42-percent drop. According to Berkshire Hathaway, the decline reflected an 81-percent reduction in aircraft sales and a 22-percent cut in flight-operations revenues.
David Sokol, who had been chairman at Berkshire-owned MidAmerican Energy Holdings, is now chairman and interim CEO of NetJets and has announced a new management structure. In addition, the company has confirmed that it is moving its headquarters from Woodbridge, N.J., to Columbus, Ohio.