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Jeff Smisek to Become Continental Airlines’ President and COO

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Jeff Smisek, Continental Airlines’ president and chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors, is to become chairman and chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2010.

Smisek (54) will succeed Larry Kellner (50), who has decided to return to private equity at year-end after 14 years with Continental, the last five of them as chairman and CEO.

“Although I am saddened that Larry has decided to move on, I respect his decision and wish him continued success,” said Smisek. “Over the next several months, Larry and I will work together to ensure a smooth transition. Our entire team will remain focused on returning our company to profitability, and Continental’s great culture will continue to be the driving force of the company’s long-term success.”

Kellner will head Emerald Creek Group, LLC, a new private investment firm based in Houston.

Jeff Smisek

Jeff Smisek is president and chief operating officer of Continental Airlines and a member of the Board of Directors. He is responsible for airline operations, including flight operations, inflight, airports, catering, cargo, maintenance and technical operations, and also human resources and labor relations, global real estate, security and environmental affairs, corporate communications, federal affairs, and international, state and local affairs. Over the course of his tenure at Continental, he has also overseen sales and marketing, technology and legal affairs.

Smisek joined the airline in March 1995 as senior vice president and general counsel, and has since held positions of increasing responsibility. He became president in December 2004 and president and chief operating officer in September 2008. Prior to joining Continental, Smisek was a partner at Vinson & Elkins LLP, where he specialized in corporate finance and securities law.

Smisek graduated from Princeton University, A.B. summa cum laude in economics, in 1976, and Harvard Law School, J.D. magna cum laude, in 1982. He also serves on the board of directors of National Oilwell Varco, Inc. Smisek and his wife reside in Houston and are long-time supporters of numerous charitable and civic organizations.

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