Wheels Up Selects George Mattson as New CEO

He brings 25 years of aviation experience to replace the departed company founder in the role.

The partnership between Delta and Wheels Up will allow pilots in the airline’s Propel College Path Program to log flight hours with the private aviation operator, giving them another path to full-time employment with Delta. [Courtesy: Wheels Up]

Private on-demand jet charter company Wheels Up announced that George Mattson has been named as the company's new CEO. 

The news is the latest leadership change for the company that last month received $500 million in an emergency bailout from Delta Air Lines and other investors that saved it from bankruptcy. The company's founder, Kenny Dichter, stepped down as CEO in May.

Wheels Up Experience Inc. (NYSE: UP) was founded in 2013 as a private jet travel company. According to Wheels Up, Mattson brings 25 years of aviation experience to the role, as a strategic adviser, financier, business owner/operator, and director. His previous roles included a place on Delta’s board of directors. 

"In 10 years Wheels Up has grown from a startup into a global leader in private aviation, with a strong consumer brand and loyal member community," Mattson said. "I look forward to leading the Wheels Up team, with the operational, commercial, strategic, and financial support of Delta and our other new investors. Delivering best-in-class operating performance and exceptional customer experiences, consistently and profitably, will attract more members to our community as we begin the next chapter of the Wheels Up story."

According to a press release, Mattson served as a partner and co-head of the Global Industrials Group in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs. from 2002 to 2012. At the time, his responsibilities included oversight of the transportation and airline practices. 

Since 2014, he has been the lead investor and chairman of Tropic Ocean Airways, the nation's second-largest operator of seaplanes. Tropic Ocean Airways is a Wheels Up partner.

Mattson will be based in Atlanta, where Wheels Up recently established a state-of-the-art member operations center. He will start the new job in October.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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