Continental Supply Chain Exec Retires

Kuniaki Tsuruta credited with moving airline toward total cost of ownership purchasing policies

Houston — March 20, 2003 — Supply chain executive Kuniaki "Jun" Tsuruta, credited with moving Continental Airlines toward total cost of ownership purchasing policies, is set to retire from the airline this month, according to an announcement this week from Continental.

Tsuruta, who is retiring as senior vice president purchasing and material services at Continental, joined the airline in April 1994 and was responsible for procurement, global purchasing and logistics.

His retirement will become effective March 25, 2003.

In a statement, Continental said that under Tsuruta's leadership, the airline's purchasing practices moved from selecting suppliers solely based on cost to selecting suppliers that provide quality products on a reliable basis at competitive prices.

As a result, Continental said it tripled its parts reliability, bringing multimillion-dollar savings to the company and dramatically improving the airline's operational reliability and on-time performance.

"Jun's business acumen significantly improved Continental's procurement process, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in savings to this company," said Gordon Bethune, Continental's chairman and CEO. "He has made an invaluable contribution to our airline, and as a trusted friend and colleague for more than 20 years, will be truly missed."

The airline did not immediately name a replacement for Tsuruta.