Industry Pioneer Richard Santulli Resigns

Business Jet Traveler » October 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009 - 5:00am

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.  

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“"Many years ago, our company founder, Al Conklin, sold a new twin-engine business aircraft to a very successful entrepreneur. He had established a bit of a rapport with the individual and, after the sale, asked him straight out, 'How can you justify the cost of this airplane?' His reply? 'What is the cost of a divorce?'"–David Wyndham, president, Conklin & de Decker”

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