If you’ve ever flown Continental, or more recently United, you’re probably familiar with an in-flight safety video starring a lean man with a shock of gray hair. That’s Jeff Smisek: Chairman, President, and CEO of United Continental Holdings, Inc., which owns and operates both United Airlines and Continental Airlines. As of 2010, Continental merged with United, resulting in the world’s largest airline. But what does this have to do with SpareFoot?
As it so happens, SpareFoot’s own CEO and Co-Founder Chuck Gordon frequently flies with United, and has seen countless numbers of these in-flight safety videos. Picture a young Chuck: politely seated, excited for takeoff, and entranced by these safety videos starring the incomparable Mr. Smisek. It’s safe to say that over the years and numerous roundtrips, Chuck has developed what one could call a fascination, or fondness, for Jeff Smisek. Indeed the wall behind Chuck’s desk is papered with pictures of Mr. Sismek’s CEO Letters throughout the years–a gleaming homage well on its way to rivaling Helga Pataki’s shrine of Arnold. When asked about the origins of this unrequited CEO-mance, Chuck responded with a simple answer:
“The man is a legend.”
Last week was Chuck’s birthday, and despite his gold-medal cake balls from Austin Cake Balls, we knew that there was only one perfect birthday present for such a perfect CEO. It’s common knowledge that Jeff Smisek looks at every email he receives. As such, one dedicated SpareFoot employee, partner manager Michael Balagia, tested the theory and sent Mr. Smisek an email imploring that he grace Chuck with an autographed picture as a birthday present. Much to our surprise, Mr. Smisek followed through. Good luck beating this CEO-love story, Nicholas Sparks.
Image courtesy of Chuck’s heart.