Wheels Up CEO Kenny Dichter leaves

  • After 10 years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Dichter
  • Todd Smith taking over temporarily
  • Search for a successor
  • Dichter said 121 words

(exechange) — New York, May 9, 2023 — Kenny Dichter, chief executive of Wheels Up, leaves his position. As announced by Wheels Up Experience Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, Kenneth (Kenny) Dichter leaves his post as chief executive officer at the provider of on-demand private aviation, after 10 years in the role, effective immediately.

Wheels Up will undertake a search for a successor.

Kenny Dichter’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Todd Smith, currently Chief Financial Officer at Wheels Up Experience Inc., as interim Chief Executive Officer.

The company also announced current Board member Ravi Thakran — former Group Chairman, Asia for LVMH and former Chairman and Founding Partner, L Catterton Asia — will serve as Executive Chairman.

“This is the right time”

The management change is explained as follows. Dichter stated: “As we continue our path to profitability, this is the right time to take on a new role where I will support Ravi and Todd and the business.”

Precise information regarding Kenny Dichter’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Step away/depart”

Wheels Up said: “[A]s of today, Founder Kenny Dichter will step away from his role as CEO at the company he established in 2013 and took public in 2021.”

Wheels Up further said: “Kenneth Dichter, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”), will depart from his positions as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board effective May 9, 2023.”

Share price decline since May 2022

The announcement follows a decline in Wheels Up Experience Inc.’s share price of 84% since May 2022.

In the position of CEO since 2013

Kenny Dichter became CEO of the Company in 2013.

Dichter will continue to be a member of the Board of Directors.

Dichter is the Founder of Wheels Up and has served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman since its inception in 2013.

In 2021, Wheels Up became the first publicly traded on-demand private aviation company on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dichter is a renowned entrepreneur with expertise in aviation, branding, marketing, public relations and advertising.

Regarded as a disruptor in private aviation, Dichter founded Marquis Jet in 2001 and pioneered the first-ever fractional jet card.

He served as Chief Executive Officer and as Chairman of Marquis Jet and oversaw its sale to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets in 2010.

Dichter once again disrupted the industry in 2013 with Wheels Up.

Through its membership business model and innovative digital platform, Wheels Up has increased the accessibility of private air travel for consumers.

In 2020, Wheels Up partnered with Delta to acquire Delta Private Jets, creating one of the industry’s largest owned and managed fleets of private aircraft and bringing Delta aboard as a significant Wheels Up stockholder.

Dichter also co-founded Tequila Avion, an ultra-premium tequila brand which was acquired by Pernod Ricard in 2014; he is an original investor in Juice Press, an organic food and juice company with locations across the United States, and he co-founded Alphabet City, a sports marketing and music company that was sold to Robert Sillerman’s SFX Entertainment in 1998.

121 words by Kenny Dichter

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Wheels Up Experience Inc., Kenny Dichter received praise and thanks.

In announcing his departure, Kenny Dichter said 121 words.

“I’d like to congratulate Ravi Thakran”

Kenny Dichter stated: “I’d like to congratulate Ravi Thakran on his new role. Having worked closely with Ravi, I know he brings a sharp focus on the customer and a deep appreciation for what it means to deliver a premium experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our 12,000+ loyal members and customers – and the incredible Wheels Up team – who have made the company what it is today. As we continue our path to profitability, this is the right time to take on a new role where I will support Ravi and Todd and the business. I am looking forward to supporting Wheels Up as a shareholder, member of the Board, founder and a strong advocate for our brand and mission.”

40% of CEOs are forced out or fired

When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position, with 0 being most likely a voluntary move and 10 being most likely a forced exit. Anything over a 5 indicates that there are valid reasons to believe an executive may have been pushed out.

Of the 312 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (May 9, 2022, to May 8, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 6.2, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When performance issues, pursuit of other opportunities or time with family were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 40% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.

In other words, in the past 12 months, two in five departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Push-out Score for Kenny Dichter’s move determined

The Push-out Score regarding Kenny Dichter’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.

exechange reached out to Wheels Up and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 20.2023 ($).