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Keynote Speaker Howard Putnam

Howard Putnam

Former CEO of Southwest and Braniff Airlines

  • Speaker's U.S. Fee Range
    $20,001 - $40,000 i
  • Languages Spoken
  • Travels From
    Nevada, USA

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Howard Putnam’s Main Accomplishments Include . . . 
Howard Putnam is an author, speaker and advisor on business issues, change, leadership and ethics. He has experienced turbulence many times in his distinguished business career and not only survived, but thrived by taking advantage of the opportunities for change and transformation that turbulent times offer. As the former CEO of the highly successful Southwest Airlines, Howard Putnam led the fledgling carrier through airline deregulation and the development and implementation of the “vision” that has guided Southwest to revered heights over the past twenty years. 

In 1978 Howard Putnam was recruited to become President and CEO of fledgling Southwest Airlines in Dallas. While at Southwest, Howard Putnam and his team tripled the revenues and tripled profitability in three years. They also successfully guided Southwest through airline deregulation and Southwest was the first air carrier to order the Boeing 737-300, which later became the largest selling aircraft ever for Boeing. Southwest tripled in size and tripled in profitability during his tenure, and today is still a corporate model for organizations that put their people first in their culture. Howard Putnam led the visioning process at Southwest as well as further developing the “fun” culture and excellent customer service that Southwest is still known for.

Howard Putnam was later recruited to be Chairman and CEO of the financially failing Braniff International and became the first CEO to take a major airline through Chapter 11 reorganization successfully. It was at Braniff that he learned crisis management while rallying 10,000 employees to new heights as they fought to save their company. The reorganization was accomplished so efficiently, that Harvard University used it as a model and wrote The Ethics of Bankruptcy, a case study for ethically leading an organization through turbulence.
Howard Putnam is also the author of The Winds of Turbulence, a book on leadership and ethics.

Howard Putnam’s ultimate objective is “bottom line improvement.” He believes that cultures that place people as their #1 priority have the greatest long-term impact and success.

Howard Putnam has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Chicago and completed Harvard’s Advanced Management Program.

More About Howard Putnam. . .
Howard Putnam was raised on an Iowa farm and learned to fly out of a pasture in his Father’s J-3 Piper Cub. He entered the airline business as a baggage handler at Midway Airport in Chicago for Capital Airlines at age 17. Capital was soon merged into United and Howard Putnam held thirteen different positions in sales, services and staff assignments in several cities, before being named Group Vice President of Marketing for United Airlines, the world’s largest airline, in 1976.

Howard Putnam has also been an entrepreneur, serving as Chairman of a startup investment company and two small manufacturing and distribution companies. Currently, he is Chairman of an aircraft interior refurbishment company.

Howard Putnam and his wife Krista have two children, Michael, a commercial airline captain and Sue, in public relations and marketing.

Testimonials 6

  • “Howard, I wanted to extend my sincerest thanks for your hard work and dedication to this year’s Community Hospital 100 Conference. The feedback we have received has been extremely positive, with a particular note that our education this year was top notch! The value you brought to our education program is immeasurable, and we are truly grateful to consider you a part of the Lincoln Healthcare Events family.”

    Lincoln Healthcare Events

  • “On behalf of the entire Ash Brokerage team, I would like to thank you for the message you delivered at our Spring Summit. You were entrusted to set the tone and kick off the meeting with a powerful message to our most successful clients, and you certainly did not disappoint! You brought thoughtful perspectives and ideas our clients will not soon forget. In fact, one client remarked that it was ‘very refreshing to listen to someone who is truly one of the last sincere, genuine, honest and hard-working executives who does the things that make a real difference in people’s lives.’ I cannot thank you enough for opening our conference on such a compelling note!”

    Ash Brokerage

  • “Howard Putnam was the best professional speaker I have ever had the privilege to work with. He has a solid understanding of our industry and our business goals. His style is one that makes you want to listen. His views on people, vision and ethics are sorely needed today. If you want to begin or end your conference with an everlasting bang, Howard Putnam is your man.”

    Tim Carmack

    National Distribution Manager, DuPont Performance Coatings

  • “Howard helped our leaders get out of our “box” by discussing challenges and difficult changes that the airlines industry and certain companies have gone through and how they succeeded (or failed). It was an easy leap to see how the business challenges they faced have similarities to our own, and how strong, inspirational leadership rises above the challenges to ensure success.Further, his message is one of not just accepting change and playing the game as we know it, but rather rising to the challenge and changing the way the game is played. From his personal stories and with his charming wit, Howard inspired us all to give our very best every day and enjoy ourselves while we’re doing it.”

    Gulf Power Company

  • “Howard did such a wonderful job during his keynote. His attention to detail and extra effort of going to the dealer, researching the company, and referencing us personally in his speech was such a wonderful touch.  He was an absolute pleasure to work with.  I cannot think of a better person to have at our summit.”

    Angela Faler

    Navistar and ICBus

  • “Our staff is raving about you. You have charisma coming out of your ears. It was a pleasure to listen to your presentation.”

    Debby Clark

    Sr. Director of Marketing, American Specialty Health California

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