KITTY HAWK OUSTS CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER CHRISTOPHER
Kitty Hawk Inc., the Texas-based air-cargo carrier, has ousted its chairman, chief executive officer and founder, M. Tom Christopher, without cause, as the company faces the threat of a shutdown and bankruptcy.
Kitty Hawk said Christopher, which started Kitty Hawk Air Cargo with one charter airplane in the late 1970s, will remain a member of the board. Tilmon J. Reeves, Kitty Hawk’s president, will take over for Christopher until a full-time successor is found.
Buffeted by unexpected aircraft maintenance costs, rising fuel prices and slowing U.S. domestic air freight demand, Kitty Hawk is facing serious financial liquidity problems. The carrier expects to miss an interest payment due in May and may not have enough cash on hand to continue operations.
Kitty Hawk released an embarrassing list of maintenance- and operations-related problems this month and watched its stock price fall 80 percent to less than a $1. The airline has retained Seabury Advisors and its broker-dealer affiliate, Seabury Securities, to help implement a plan to ease the cash crunch and restructure the company’s debt.
Kitty Hawk said it has appointed Drew Keith acting chief financial officer to replace Paul Tate, who resigned as CFO April 11 after less than two weeks on the job. Two other board members also have resigned from Kitty Hawk’s board this month.