It is being reported that Delta CEO Ed Bastian skipped another White House meeting yesterday, which continues a trend. What is about the White House, if anything, that keeps Bastian away?
Delta CEO Ed Bastian Skips Another White House Meeting
Yesterday, airline officials from all major U.S. airlines joined a video conference with the White House to discuss domestic flight testing. All airlines were present…except Delta.
During the Trump Administration, Bastian skipped two airline summits at the White House. Even though these summits were on issues of direct importance to the Delta CEO, he was unable to attend either meeting. Once, he claimed it was due to a pre-planned family vacation that could not be modified. The second time, it was due to the death of his mother.
A family vacation and a funeral are not just good, but excellent reasons to skip meetings. It is not clear why he skipped the White House meeting this week, which did not even require his in-person attendance because it was held via video conference.
It makes me wonder whether Delta feels face time with those in power is actually counterproductive. The notion of “out of sight, out of mind” comes to mind, though Delta certainly was not shy about approaching lawmakers and federal officials about the need for further bailouts (even though Delta did not even furlough any flight attendants).
My own life experience has taught me that work is primarily accomplished based upon the relationships you have. I would think that whatever his politics, cultivating a relationship with White House leaders of both parties could pay dividends later. You take the meetings you can get.
Perhaps I underestimate the power of Bastian. Maybe he can pick up the phone and secure an audience with the White House at a moment’s notice. But I still find it curious that Bastian seems to put a low priority on White House meetings, especially in an age in which Executive Orders are becoming so much more prevalent.
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