My first interview for The CEO Show was Friday April 13, 2007 with David Neeleman Founder and CEO of JetBlue. When I asked David about his original vision he said, “We wanted to bring humanity back to airlines.” Having that higher level focus enabled Neeleman to galvanize the team — and the market — to where from founding in 1999, by 2007 they were already one of the top airlines in America and certainly among the most beloved. I also asked David about challenges. he then shared a leadership lesson that to this day I use in thinking through practically every situation. He told me, “You should look at every business situation as belt and suspenders.” The message to CEOs is have a contingency plan. And David followed his own advice, because after he was let go of the airline he founded JetBlue, he then quickly formed Azul Airlines which almost overnight became a huge sensation with over $2 billion revenue. And guess what Azul did … again bring humanity to even more travelers.
If you are interested in history, here is the original commercial-free podcast of that first interview ever I had with David back in 2007: http://ceoforum.ceo/2007/04/jet-blue-david-neeleman-founder-former-ceo/