Paul Casey, vice chairman and chief executive of Hawaiian Airlines, was flanked by Aloha Airlines CEO and President Glenn Zander, left, and Greg Brenneman, the would-be head of the merged airline, at a press conference in December.

Casey’s days numbered,
report says

Hawaiian's CEO could be
removed as soon as a replacement
is found for ex-president Zoller

By Russ Lynch

Paul J. Casey could quickly be removed as chief executive officer of Hawaiian Airlines when a replacement is found for Robert Zoller, who resigned last month as president and chief operating officer, according to an anonymous source quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Casey, who is also vice chairman, was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Hawaiian confirmed that the company is searching for a replacement for Zoller, 55, who came to the airline as vice president and chief operating officer in December 1999 and was promoted to president in January 2001. Zoller, a former American Airlines executive, left in mid-April after the proposed merger with Aloha Airlines fell apart.

Casey is still vice chairman and CEO and added the title of president after Zoller left. He has announced no plans to step down, Hawaiian told the Journal. But the airline obviously wants to bring in a Zoller replacement who eventually could serve as CEO, spokesman Keoni Wagner told the national financial paper.

Wagner said yesterday the airline had no comment on the Journal story.

The paper's Monday edition quoted an "informed person" who said that when the replacement for Zoller is found, that person "could step into the CEO job immediately" if he or she has the right qualifications.

The unnamed source also said that "Hawaiian Air directors also recognize that they must offer the newcomer a juicier salary than the $375,000 a year earned by Mr. Casey," the Journal said.

The paper said Hawaiian wants a top executive from a middle-sized airline to replace Zoller. Hawaiian and Aloha are "small," the Journal said.

Speculation about Casey's future has been spreading since the merger proposal was announced in late December and more so since the details of the failed merger agreement were made public, spelling out that both Casey and his counterpart at Aloha, Glenn Zander, would not be kept on by the new airline.

One possible role mention for Casey is the post of chief executive of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. HTA Chairman Roy Tokujo has said that the HTA board is a long way, perhaps months, from deciding on a new CEO.

Casey, 56, joined Hawaiian in 1997 after serving nearly two years as president of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. Before that he had spent years in key executive posts at Continental Airlines.

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