This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Work for Apple or Work for an Airline? United CFO Steps Down.

CHICAGO ( TheStreet) - The chief financial officer of United (UAL - Get Report) is leaving the carrier to join Apple (APPL).

United said Monday that Zane Rowe, 41, will leave to take a job at Apple, and will be succeeded by John Rainey. Associated Press reported that Rowe will be a vice president of sales at Apple.

Although no reason for Rowe's departure was offered, it should be obvious that while many people who work in the airline industry love it, there are financial drawbacks to working in an industry that has lost money since the Wright Brothers first flew.

Let us briefly compare the two companies. In the first quarter, United is expected to lose about $300 million and Apple is expected to earn around $10 billion. United will say that the first quarter is typically slow for airlines, and Apple will say it cannot see any slow quarters in the near future.

Whatever happens on the day earnings are reported, it is safe to say that some number of United customers will be angry about something that happened during their travels, while tens of thousands of Apple customers will be delighted with their new iPod, iPhone or iPad.

Yes, the Apple store, like the airport parking lot, is always full, but somehow people are conditioned to find happiness in the Apple store and to assume that something bad will happen in the security line or during the flight or in the traffic jam as they leave the airport. All too often, these expectations are self-fulfilling.

Rowe joined Continental in 1993 and rose through the ranks, becoming CFO in 2008. In that position, he was a key member of a team of executives who came from Houston-based Continental to Chicago to run the world's biggest airline.

Aviation consultant Robert Mann says that perhaps Rowe wants "a change of pace after going through the restructuring." While the airline industry is plagued with daily problems from rising fuel prices to bad weather to high taxation and continued Congressional meddling - some members of Congress want to regulate the number of bags that can be checked for free! - "at Apple, all you have to do is figure out how to distribute the dividend," Mann says.

"While we are sorry Zane has decided to leave, we are excited to have such a talented executive as John Rainey become our chief financial officer," said United CEO Jeff Smisek, in a prepared statement.

An Apple spokesman told the AP that Rowe "built a great team at United and we think he is going to do a fantastic job at Apple."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $118.88 0.00%
UAL $56.80 0.00%
FB $105.74 0.00%
GOOG $748.28 0.00%
TSLA $218.25 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,812.19 +19.51 0.11%
S&P 500 2,089.14 +2.55 0.12%
NASDAQ 5,102.8080 +0.33 0.01%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs