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Pretty sad...thanks DS

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Well-known member
Mar 10, 2002
Sokol Threatens to Shut Down NetJets
Thu, 08/26/2010 - 10:14

Folks, I realize many of you are tired of the back-and-forth on NetJets, but this is a big, huge deal. David Sokol sent an email out last night to employees threatening to shut down the company if people don't stop criticizing him (in effect). Here's how I read the meta-message of the thing and its import. The email follows.

> First, the situation gets more astonishing by the day. Am trying to imagine Dale Carnegie's reaction to this. Or how Warren Buffett would have handled it from the start. The mind boggles at how this continues to escalate. What's next, enriched uranium?

> Anytime someone tries to shut down criticism, no matter what the nature of the criticism may be, it's suspicious. Warren has this saying, "You can always tell 'em to go to hell tomorrow" so never do it today.

> The email is saying, essentially, that there's an imminent threat to NetJets that makes this necessary. Again, my journalistic antennae are vibrating. Didn't we just see Sokol on Bloomberg saying that NetJets is fixed? In fact, things are going so well that he can leave and pass the reins to an internal successor? At the time, the Fortune article was already out, the pilot's union memos had been posted, and the activity on this blog had slowed to a crawl. As far as I know, nothing new has happened since then that would prompt this email, other than people on this website saying they're tired of the drama of two drunks fighting in a trailer. Why this email now, when things are starting to calm down?

> Could the threatening tone of the letter, perhaps, be meant to intimidate those who may speak in the future? Actually, that's pretty much what it says -- if you do, I'll shut down the company. Richard Santulli is going on Bloomberg to talk to Betty Liu in his first televised interview since he was kicked out of NetJets. This interview is a very big deal. Again, my antennae are vibrating. Do you suppose this email could be meant at least partly to influence Santulli?

> It's been mentioned a number of times in the past on this website by various people that plans are being considered to shut down or sell the company. This letter now admits it's a possibility and proposes the former management's criticism as a possible cause. This, at least, makes sense. Somebody's gotta take the blame, and everybody's looking for a scapegoat.

My antennae are twitching so hard it's jerking my fingers away from the keyboard, so I'll stop now and why don't you read the email.

When I arrived at NetJets last year, I promised that I would engage in open and honest conversation with each of you. The leadership team and I have worked very hard since that time to fulfill this promise and fully believe we have done so. It is in that spirit that I write to you today to make you aware of some recent and serious developments that threaten our business.

Over the past year, our leadership team has worked hard to establish and execute a business plan that will allow us to provide value to our Owners, as secure employment as possible for our employees, and a fair return for Berkshire Hathaway. Although we made many difficult decisions and implemented several changes to how we conduct business, we have held firm in our conviction that we must never compromise our industry-leading safety and service standards or our integrity.

As I suggested in my last quarterly update, our efforts as a team have been largely successful and our business is now improving. Indeed, after many years of unprofitability – to date, Berkshire Hathaway actually has lost money on its initial $725 million investment in NetJets, which it made more than 12 years ago – we are now reaching a place where we are confident that we can seek out growth opportunities and consistently achieve the goals of our business plan on a go-forward basis. Our safety and service cultures have been enhanced, and we have built a strong foundation for continuous improvement. I could not be more proud of the entire team’s efforts.

Unfortunately, there are several former executives and current employees who are working diligently to harm you, your families, and our business through rumor mongering, deceit, and other forms of unethical behavior. While our Pilots, Flight Attendants, Maintenance Technicians, and other team members have been working hard to execute our business plan and serve our Owners, these individuals have been attempting to undermine your efforts by negatively influencing our current and future Owner base both directly and through the media. The following examples illustrate this point:

· Former executives and employees have contacted our current Owners directly, encouraging them to leave the NetJets program.

· Current and former employees have posted countless damaging and defamatory messages on public websites, discussion groups, and message boards. In addition, an anonymous individual posted excerpts from two NJASAP newsletters that include disparaging remarks about our safety and service culture. We have reason to believe that these messages are now being used by our competition to discourage current Owners from maintaining, and prospective Owners from establishing, relationships with our business.

· NetJets’ former Vice Chairman has directly attacked our business practices in both print media and on television. I do not respect his actions. In my view, there can be no purpose for them other than to attempt to destroy NetJets and to threaten our collective future.

· A former executive and current Pilot made disparaging remarks about the NetJets leadership team in a recent issue of Fortune magazine. It would easily follow that his comments will be used by our competitors’ sales forces to bolster their case against NetJets. In this context, we are baffled by the letter we received from NJASAP defending these statements and claiming they were made by this individual in his capacity as a Union representative.

In our view, the actions described above are part of a campaign designed to decrease the number of Owners in the NetJets program, poison our relationships with our business partners, and incite our team members into providing a reduced level of service. The conflict-ridden environment they are trying to create is similar to that which exists at many commercial air carriers. But we are not an airline, and the service you provide for our Owners is not a commodity. The day we begin to resemble an airline or our service to our Owners begins to falter is the day we begin to fail. For this reason, I have chosen to write directly to you. A second letter will be sent to the NJASAP Executive Board regarding this important matter.

We are fortunate and proud to be a Berkshire Hathaway company. But with this comes a responsibility that each of us must bear. We are at a crossroads, and behavior like that described above will only take us in the wrong direction. Do not allow yourself to be influenced by the actions or words of those who seek to harm us. Our Owners pay for and expect a very high level of consistent service. To provide that service, we must pull together and act as a team each and every day with one thought in mind: “How do we encourage new ownership within NetJets?”

I have had the great pleasure to meet a very large number of you during my time here. At each meeting I take the opportunity to ask you how things are going and to determine where we can improve. I have been extremely pleased with all of the positive responses I have received and have been working hard to implement many of your suggestions. I look forward to a bright future for NetJets, and for this reason it is my hope that we can rise above the kind of behavior I describe in this letter and put it behind us. It is up to each of us. We have set the stage for future growth and expansion, and we are positioned to grow. If we are unable to do so because of continued conflict and negative campaigns, we will unfortunately be forced to redirect our plans. You have my commitment that I will do my best for NetJets’ future, and I hope that I will have the same commitment from each of you. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any thoughts, questions, or concerns.


David L. Sokol
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
NetJets Inc.

If this is a true e-mail.....It's pretty sad that the supposed "leader" of the company has garnered such little respect from his former peers and employees. From what I can tell, he has gained very little respect from the workforce and NAJSAP leaders...and only created a rift that took years to mend the last time.. Way to go DS...this buds for you "mr. bean counter who only thinks employees are a liability" man.....

While I don't disagree with you. This is not the right place to air dirty laundry.

Hope you hear from JB soon with good news.
Well all I can say is what I've said since the beginning of all of this....With out NJASAP access this is where I'd be posting "dirty laundry".... Sorry if it sucks but it's exactly what I said I was going to do. I don't blame any one in particular, just the people who decided to make the ridiculuous decision.

I realize it may be not be in the best interest of anyone currently at NJA. And it tarnishes that golden reputation we all once enjoyed. But it is what it is. I'm pretty sure the golden image NJA once enjoyed has been greatly tarnished already.

I'm not actually in the running for JB, but thanks for the well wishes. We do have a few guys that have been proceeding along that path though. Hopefully it works out well for them.

BTW, this letter (true or false), is posted on a public blog. A blog that has been given much attention on this forum. Posting it here and bringing it up is something that would have eventually surfaced. It has already caused the furloughees main msg. board to be shut down.
Bad form posting the link here bro...

This certainly isn't going to get you recalled any faster!

Good luck!
I think we are all kidding ourselves if we thought that this letter would remain confidential. The person to blame is DS for hitting the send button. Nothing in writing is confidential these days....classifed info from the Pentagon included. It seems like an unbridled ego has run amuck.
Bad form posting the link here bro...

This certainly isn't going to get you recalled any faster!

Good luck!

I doubt getting a quick recall is on any of the furloughees minds..It's gonna be awhile either way.. By this time next year (or even next week) this post and blog will be a thing of the past. It will have no affect on recalls in any way shape or form. Me, or anyone else, posting negative dribble on FI.com is not gonna matter one bit.

That what cracks me up about FI.com and other msg. boards..There are those like myself who post here for entertainment, stress relief and the occasional worthy info. Then there are those who post here because they think what is said here really matters. Or is important in any way because they really think someone is listening that can change a thing.

If you look at my posts, most are crap, negative, and have very little substance. Sure there's the occasional job hunt questions/answers. But most of it is crap. Difference between me and the next guy, I freely admit it's crap. In person I'm not nearly as negative, and actually love my past and current jobs. But since I have a place like this to vent, I often choose to do so.

I posted this msg. both because I can, and because I wanted to. I was not looking to make some gound breaking discovery or insight into anything. Of course I do it out of spite for being unable to join the NJASAP crowd on the main board. And while I have since moved on job wise I am in fact still pissed about the whole past year and half stresses and what it put my family through. And also because I've already gotten my workout in, had breakfast and don't wish to spend the whole day painting yet another house, I had time to jump on FI.com and rehash good ole days of a few months ago.

If anyone is too brain dead to realize this is a aviation msg. board. And with that the only people who care are ..well.. aviators. I am sorry. But it is in fact just a message board. Nobody beyond our little circle really gives a crap about it. By now I'm sure everyone has atleast realized that the general public knows nothing about aviation companies or their leaders. Hell, most people don't know who Warren Buffet is. Definitely don't know who David Sokol is.
Wasn't there a thread about CitationAire recalling and it got off topic. It turned towards"how to get NJ guys to take over a thread..."

I think I said, "post something negative about NJA and they'll come a runnin!"

Same here, post something negative about NJA and you'll get a bunch of guys who get all "Holy" about keeping it hush hush.
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All of this negativity coming from you CRJ is making me start to change my mind. I am starting to agree with the eboard's decision. It is sad. The 2% have to ruin it for the rest.
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