United Airlines Reorganizes, Trims Sales Team

United Airlines is reducing the size of its salesforce and restructuring it. According to an internal memo from SVP of worldwide sales Jake Cefolia, the changes include promotions for some and “saying goodbye” to others.

“Though we are seeing very gradual signs of recovery, the truth of the matter remains that demand is a long way from normal, and we must become a smaller airline as a result,” according to Cefolia’s memo, obtained by The Company Dime. “We still have to make some tough decisions about our workforce and our future.”

The memo did not quantify the reductions and a United press official had no comment on changes to corporate and agency sales.

United organized the new structure under Cefolia with the following managing directors in leadership positions: Joseph Tibble (global agency accounts), Aileen Furlong (sales-global accounts), Marie Downey (sales-West), Steve Ross (sales-Midwest), Bruce Turpin (sales-East), Anthony Toth (digital sales), Karen Catlin (sales effectiveness) and Jane Lee (United for Business marketing).

Jake Cefolia, United Airlines
Jake Cefolia, United Airlines senior vice president of worldwide sales

The airline created four new roles and filled them with existing sales and account management personnel. According to Cefolia and a listing of those already placed in the revamped organization, Priyanka Randhawa becomes director of pricing and strategy, “responsible for analytics, corporate pricing and being the primary interface with pricing/revenue management and network planning.” Ling Liu was named director of incentive and implementation, charged with overseeing “all incentive programs,” contract management and “corporate and agency fare filing.” Annette Zappala will be senior manager for field agencies and Chris Kakabeeke will be senior manager for account management.

According to Cefolia, the revised workforce matches expected demand and can “respond quickly when things meaningfully improve.” It maintains relationships with the carrier’s largest customers and distribution partners, and achieves “disproportionate savings in business areas where low activity is projected for the next few years,” he wrote.

Cefolia said United would communicate more details about the organizational structure in the coming weeks.

The United press official noted that the carrier was “abiding by the CARES Act in paying folks through the end of September unless they chose to take an unpaid leave of absence from the company.”


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Author: David Jonas

David Jonas in 2006 co-founded business media firm ProMedia.travel after ten years as a journalist with Business Travel News. David rejoined BTN in 2010 as executive editor when its parent company acquired ProMedia, and in 2014 co-created The Company Dime. David has a bachelor's degree in communications from Cornell University.

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