United Airlines CFO Andrew Levy leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After less than two years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Levy
  • Gerry Laderman taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Chicago, Illinois, May 17, 2018 — Andrew Levy, finance chief of United Airlines, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by United Continental Holdings, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, May 17, 2018, Andrew C. Levy has left his post as chief financial officer at the airline holding company after less than two years in the position, effective May 15, 2018.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CFOs who departed over the past 12 months was 6.6 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 16 percent of the CFOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within two years, and 33 percent left the position within three years.

United Airlines will undertake a search for a successor.

Levy’s duties were taken over in the interim by Gerald (Gerry) Laderman, most recently senior vice president of finance of United Continental Holdings, Inc.

No reason given

In the announcement, United Airlines did not explicitly explain the obviously compelling reason for Levy’s sudden move, leaving room for speculation.

Precise information about Levy’s future plans was not immediately available.

Levy wrote on his LinkedIn page that he is “considering several exciting opportunities and will choose one in the coming weeks.”

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often a wake-up call for stockholders when a CFO leaves the position abruptly and without an understandable explanation.

“Leave/resign”

United Airlines said: “United Airlines (UAL) today announced Gerry Laderman has been named acting chief financial officer. He succeeds Andrew Levy, who has decided to leave United.”

United Airlines further said: “On May 14, 2018, Andrew Levy, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of United Continental Holdings, Inc. …, notified the Company of his intention to resign from the Company.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of United Continental Holdings, Inc. since May 2017.

Chaired by Robert A. Milton

United Continental Holdings, Inc. is chaired by Robert A. Milton.

CEO: Oscar Munoz

Oscar Munoz serves as CEO of United Continental Holdings, Inc. Oscar Munoz has been the Chief Executive Officer of United Continental Holdings, Inc. and United Airlines, Inc. since September 8, 2015.

In the position of CFO since 2016

Andrew C. Levy has been the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of United Airlines, Inc. since August 22, 2016.

In this role, Levy was responsible for the airline’s overall financial strategy including cost management, capital allocation and balance sheet optimization.

Levy oversaw corporate finance, treasury, financial planning and analysis, tax, accounting, investor relations, fleet, procurement, internal audit, risk management and corporate strategy.

Levy brought a comprehensive airline background to United, having held several leadership roles at Allegiant Travel Company, a highly successful ultra-low cost carrier.

In his more than 13 years with Allegiant, Levy served as president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Levy played a principal role in the development and execution of the innovative strategy that helped drive Allegiant’s success, including responsibility for strategy, planning, finance, people and operations.

Prior to Allegiant, Levy held leadership positions at mPower Communications, serving as vice president of network development and network planning.

Levy holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington University and a juris doctor from Emory University.

Levy is married and has four children.

Unexpected

As a general rule, when a top manager announces to step aside with no permanent successor in place, it’s a sign that the move was unexpected and too early.

Generally speaking, potential causes for an unplanned change may be, among others, disagreement or dispute.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Andrew Levy’s sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 21.2018 ($).