CEO named 2009 International Executive of the Year
HOUSTON – The Greater Houston Partnership today announced it will honor Larry Kellner, outgoing CEO of Continental Airlines, as its 2009 International Executive of the Year. The award will be presented in conjunction with the City of Houston, the Port of Houston Authority, Harris County, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club of Houston during a luncheon at the Hilton Houston Post Oak on Friday, September 25th, at 11:30 a.m.
Kellner has promoted international growth at Houston-based Continental Airlines, which now serves more international destinations than any other U.S. carrier. Under his leadership, Continental has added or announced key direct routes between Houston and Frankfurt; London Heathrow; Buenos Aires; Amsterdam; Rio de Janeiro; and several major cities in Mexico. He also oversaw the completion of the 23-gate Terminal E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The 600,000-square-foot facility is capable of handling both domestic and international arrivals and departures, significantly increasing Continental’s capacity for growth at its Houston hub.
During Kellner’s 14 year tenure with Continental, the carrier has won more awards for customer satisfaction than any other airline. This year, FORTUNE magazine ranked Continental the No. 1 carrier on their annual airline industry list of “Most Admired Global Companies” for the sixth consecutive year. He has also fostered the company’s unique culture, putting emphasis on strong internal communication and giving employees the tools to provide outstanding customer service.
Held annually for the past 23 years, the International Executive of the Year award recognizes an outstanding business person whose global leadership continues to make the Houston region a center of international business. The efforts of these recipients, combined with Houston’s international business infrastructure and world-class transportation and distribution network, keep the region on the cutting edge of the global economy. Focusing on innovations, business strategies and vision, the International Executive of the Year is one of the region’s most prestigious international business awards and events.
Past recipients of the International Executive of the Year award include: Bela and Marta Karyoli (2008); Mathew Knowles (2007); John Hofmeister (2006); Nijad I. Fares (2005); Archie W. Dunham (2004); Michael L. Grimes (2003); Richard E. Wainerdi (2002); Edgar Ortiz (2001); George J. Donnelly (2000); Don J. Wang (1999); Cheryl Thompson-Draper (1998); Gordon M. Bethune (1997); The Hon. Lloyd M. Bentsen (1996); Joseph A. Hafner, Jr. (1995); Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, accepted by Don Jordan (1994); Raymond A. LeBlanc (1993); Robert A. Mosbacher (1992); Kenneth L. Lay and George W. Strake, Jr. (1991); Robert Cizik (1990); Constantine Nicandros (1989); Rod Canion (1988); Frank Lorenzo (1987); and Dr. Antonio M. Gotto, Jr. (1986).