- Category : Business-Entrepreneur
- Type : GE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Uncertainty 1
American entrepreneur who made millions buying airline companies and restructuring them, changing the face of the airline industry. He has been called a "Ruthless Pragmatist" as well as a visionary, deal maker, union buster, showboater and loose cannon. Hated by unions and loved by people who benefited from slashed air fares, he was known for seeking confrontations - from which he customarily walked away the winner. He used tactics of breaking contracts and slashing wages to help boost earnings
Lorenzo is the son of Spanish immigrants who settled in Queens, NY. His dad owned a beauty salon. Fascinated with aviation from a young age, his bedroom was decorated with airline posters and model airplanes. When he was 15 he flew to Europe and when he returned he bought his first stock in TWA. He graduated Columbia University in 1961 as an economics major; his fraternity brothers called him Frankie Smooth Talk. He received a Master's from Harvard Business School.
Lorenzo worked as an analyst for TWA in 1963 and then founded a consulting firm. In 1971 he took over the struggling Texas International Airline and by 1978 it was the fastest growing airline in the industry. "Fortune" magazine 2/27/89 included him in an article on "America's Toughest Bosses," saying he liked his managers to work 14 hours a day, six days a week. His managers moved from city to city with little notice and had a rampant divorce rate. The people who started out with him formed an inner core with esprit and loyalty, but later managers found his ruling of every aspect of their lives impossible. His manner of making sudden changes was extremely disruptive as well as his use of intrigue; spying was rampant.
Lorenzo purchased several other airlines with financial problems, including Continental in 1985, Eastern in 1986, Frontier, NY Air, and People Express on 2/01/1987. In a union dispute, the union called his bluff and Eastern filed for bankruptcy on 3/09/89. The union put out a great amount of bad publicity about Lorenzo and a judge removed him from Eastern in 1990. A Scandinavian airline bought Continental and insisted he leave and stay out of the airline business for seven years. He pocketed millions, enjoying the challenge rather than the running of the airlines.
A shy, private man, Lorenzo cherishes his family time. Married 10/14/1972, he has four children. A marathon runner, he keeps himself in shape by running 25 miles a week, is a nutritionist and projects a calm demeanor. He sees himself as tough, but fair.