New Continental CEO Pledges No Salary Until Profitable

Monday, Jan 4, 2010  |  Updated 2:15 PM CDT
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New Continental CEO Pledges No Salary Until Profitable

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LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 05: A Continental Airlines Boeing 737-724 jet takes off from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on June 5, 2008 n Los Angeles, California. The US air carrier has announced that it will cut 3,000 jobs, drop 67 of its less fuel-efficient jets, and reduce services to cope with skyrocketing fuel costs which the company describes as the worst crisis in the air travel industry since the travel slump that followed the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. With fuel prices about 75 percent higher than a year ago, Continental will dump its Boeing 737-300 aircraft fleet for new fuel-efficient Boeing 737-800s and 737-900ERs. The announcement comes a day after United Airlines said it is grounding 20 percent of its fleet, or about 100 jets, and eliminating up to 1,100 jobs because of the fuel cost crunch. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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The new CEO of Continental Airlines Inc. said he will refuse to accept a salary or annual bonus until the company makes a full-year profit.

Jeffery A. Smisek, who became CEO Friday after Lawrence Kellner stepped down to join a private-equity firm, told employees about his pledge Monday.

Continental, the nation's fourth-largest airline by traffic, lost $367 million in the first nine months of last year.

Smisek said if employees want better pay and benefits, they need to focus on making money. He said he was making his pledge because "the tone for any business is set at the top."

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