Former Airline Executive Corr Dies
HOUSTON (AP) _ D. Joseph Corr of Houston, former chairman and president of Continental Airlines and a business troubleshooter in the airline industry, is dead at 60.
Family members said he died Tuesday from cancer.
Corr was hailed by airline executives for his ability to improve failing companies. A former associate of businessman Carl Icahn, Corr returned more than one flagging firm to prominence.
Frank Lorenzo, who was then chairman of Texas Air Corp., described Corr as ``a superb manager who has improved the performance of several companies,″ in naming him chairman and chief executive officer of his firm’s Continental Airlines in 1988.
Corr helped improve Continental’s financial standing, but left the company after 11 months to pursue personal business interests, including an investment firm and Aircorr, an airplane restoration company. He still operated the firm at the time of his death.
One of Corr’s first successful corporate projects was Icahn’s ACF Industries, a St. Louis manufacturer of railroad cars. Icahn named Corr the company’s president in 1984, and profits increased fourfold during his tenure.
In 1986, Icahn tapped Corr to head the troubled TWA, and Corr helped return the company to profitability. In 1988, Icahn nominated Corr as a director of Texaco in an unsuccessful bid to take over the petroleum giant.
Corr became a consultant to Avianca Airlines in South America and later was named president and chief executive of AirTran Airways, the renamed Valujet airline that suffered financially after the deadly 1996 crash of one of its passenger jets in the Florida Everglades.
He retired from AirTran in January 1999.
Corr was born Jan. 3, 1941, in Oak Park, Ill. He began his business career at Chicago-based Portec Inc. He was an avid pilot, sailor, sportsman, collector and restorer of antique airplanes and cars.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Jeanie; his sons, David and Michael; and two sisters, Eileen Peters of Huntley, Ill., and Patricia Zino of Antioch, Calif.