33-year veteran of USAir Group named new CEO

January 24, 1991|By Timothy J. Mullaney

USAir Group Inc. named 33-year company veteran Seth E. Schofield president and chief executive officer yesterday. He will replace current CEO Edwin I. Colodny when Mr. Colodny retires in June at age 65.

"This is a transition no one will even notice," said Edward J. Starkman, an airline analyst at Paine Webber Inc. in New York. He said that Washington-based USAir, the dominant airline at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, has groomed Mr. Schofield to take over the airline holding company and that yesterday's move was widely expected.

"It's no surprise; seven months ago he was promoted," said Mark Daugherty, who follows airlines for Dean Witter Reynolds Inc., also in New York. In June, Mr. Schofield was made president of USAir Group's biggest subsidiary, the USAir airline. "He has been taking a high-visibility role in management, and this follows up on that."

Mr. Schofield has spent his USAir career in the company's operations and customer-service divisions. Mr. Starkman said that Mr. Schofield was credited with USAir's quick response to service problems that followed USAir's acquisition of Piedmont Airlines.

"It was viewed as an accomplishment that it was cleaned up as relatively quickly as it was," Mr. Starkman said of the problems. "He's one of the more polished operations types you're going to find."

Mr. Schofield, who the analysts said is in his mid-50s, takes over at a time when airlines are being rocked by the recession and by higher fuel prices that followed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August.

USAir has been no exception. It has said that it will announce 1990 losses of about $450 million and that losses also are likely for the first half of 1991.

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