In a first move to put his own team in place, USAir Chairman Stephen M. Wolf has named a 42-year-old Air France executive as the airline's new president and a former United Airlines official to another top post.
The Arlington, Va.-based company announced yesterday that Rakesh Gangwal, executive vice president for planning and development at Air France, will become USAir's president on Feb. 19. He will succeed Frank L. Salizzoni, who has announced plans to retire.
In addition, USAir said that Lawrence M. Nagin, 54, will become executive vice president-corporate affairs and general counsel, succeeding James T. Lloyd, effective today. Both men were elected by the USAir board of directors yesterday.
Both have worked with Mr. Wolf, who previously headed four airlines: Continental; Republic; Tiger International, the parent corporation of Flying Tiger cargo airlines; and United.
Mr. Wolf was named to head USAir last month, succeeding Seth E. Schofield, who announced plans to retire last September but stayed on until Mr. Wolf was named the new chairman and chief executive officer. Prior to being named chairman of USAir, Mr. Wolf served as a consultant to Air France.
The new team faces a host of challenges in steadying the course of the airline, which pulled into the black last year for the first time since 1988.
Despite its vastly improved financial picture, the carrier, the largest operating at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, has the highest costs in the industry.
Reaching a cost-cutting agreement with its 42,000 employees -- a goal that eluded Mr. Schofield -- is a top priority.
Before joining Air France in November 1994, Mr. Gangwal served in a variety of management roles at United Airlines over 11 years. He also has been a management consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton Inc. in Chicago, a financial analyst with Ford Motor Co. and a production and planning engineer with Philips India Ltd., a subsidiary of the Dutch company N.V. Philips.
Mr. Gangwal holds a master of business administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor of technology degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India.
He is a native of Calcutta, India, and is married with one daughter.
Mr. Nagin was a partner with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Washington. He previously served as executive vice president-corporate affairs and general counsel of United Airlines and UAL Corp. from 1988 to 1994.
From 1980 to 1988, he was senior vice president and general counsel of the Flying Tiger Line Inc. of Los Angeles.
He is a graduate of the University of California Hastings College of the Law and holds a bachelor of arts degree in international relations from the University of Southern California.
Mr. Nagin, 54, is married and has two grown sons.