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United Air CFO, Restructuring Chief To Speak at UI Feb. 2

Jake Brace, the United Airlines executive responsible for shepherding the company through its three-year-long bankruptcy proceedings, will discuss issues facing the ailing airline industry during a Friday, Feb. 2, visit to the Tippie College of Business.

Brace is United's chief financial officer, executive vice president and chief restructuring officer, a position from which he oversaw the airline's declaration of and emergence from federal bankruptcy protection between 2002 and 2006.

Brace will discuss the future of the airline industry and airline consolidation when he delivers a Knapp Lecture Series lecture at noon Friday, Feb. 2, in Room W401 of the Pappajohn Business Building. Admission is free and open to the public.

Earlier in the day, Brace will take part in a point-counterpoint presentation between two teams of Tippie MBA students, who will discuss airline consolidation and examine such issues as what airlines should merge and when.

The U.S. airline industry is going through a period of intense turmoil, with airline companies losing billions of dollars, mergers frequently proposed and low-cost airlines siphoning passengers and profits from the so-called legacy carriers. Chicago-based United filed for bankruptcy in December 2002, at the time the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, and emerged from Chapter 11 protection Feb. 1, 2006. Along the way, the airline slashed expenses by reducing flights, laying off 26,000 workers, imposing wage cuts and defaulting on its employee pension plan.

Analysts said the leaner and smaller United that emerged from bankruptcy is better positioned to meet the stiff competition in today's air transportation market. United remains the world's second-largest airline with 56,000 employees and 460 aircraft.

Brace joined United in May 1988 as manager-operating budgets. He served in various positions including director-financial planning, vice president-corporate development, vice president-financial analysis and controller, vice president-finance, senior vice president-finance and senior vice president and chief financial officer. He assumed the position of executive vice present and chief financial officer in August 2002, and in December 2002 was also named chief restructuring officer.

Brace's additional responsibilities today include treasury, tax, the controller function, budgets, financial planning and analysis, internal audits, accounting, and external financial reporting. He is also responsible for corporate real estate, mergers and acquisitions, fleet planning, and restructuring activities.

He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Brace currently serves on the board of directors for SIRVA, a relocation services company, and as a trustee for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. He also served on the board of directors for Equant, GetThere.com and Galileo and was chairman of the board of directors of United Airlines Employees' Credit Union.


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