Skift Live

Fred Reid

Senior Advisor

Surf Air Mobility

Frederick W. Reid is an experienced global leader, executive, and board director. During his career of over thirty years in the aviation industry, he has earned a world-wide reputation as a leader who has launched, grown and strengthened businesses, with particular focus on customer service, brand-building and complex global operations. He is known as a skilled communicator and an innovative problem solver with an unpretentious and common-sense ability to engage parties, recruit and motivate teams, and build alliances. He has considerable C-suite and board-level experience in financial, operational, and commercial aspects of airline transportation, hotel, food and beverage, and business services industries.

Fred is a Senior Advisor to LEK Consulting, a global, diverse firm that is known for its progess in aviation and aerospace. In this capacity, he assists LEK in broad strategic assignments with airlines and airports around the world. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Thayer Ventures – a VC firm focused exclusively on technology and innovative products for the global hospitality industry.

Until December 2012, Fred served as President of Flexjet, an independent operating unit of Bombardier – the world’s largest business aviation manufacturer. Under Fred’s leadership, Flexjet became a leading provider of private aviation solutions, including fractional ownership, multiple jet card products, whole aircraft ownership and management, and retail charter brokerage. Flexjet operates 85 private jets, with the capability of operating 250 flights daily.

Fred’s executive management background includes experience at four of the world’s major airlines, He was the founding Chief Executive Officer of Virgin America. He joined Virgin in 2004 and shaped America’s “next generation airline” from the ground up. He raised $180 million in startup capital, ran the aircraft selection campaign, built a complex business plan and personally recruited the entire leadership team. Virgin America is the most decorated airline ever in North America, consistently winning first place awards for inflight service, catering quality, interior design, and inflight entertainment from Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure, Zagat, and others. Prior to joining Virgin America, and while serving as President of Delta Airlines, Fred led the creation of the airline’s low-fare `Song’ – branded airline and headed Delta Connection, the world’s largest fleet of regional jets. He also built SkyTeam – regarded as the most integrated global airline alliance, and directed the successful acquisition of regional carriers ASA and Comair by Delta.

Fred was the first U.S. national to ever lead a major international airline when he was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Lufthansa German Airlines in 1996. He was the co-architect of the Star Alliance – the first ever multi-airline, independently branded alliance. He was a core member of a four-person team selected by the Chairman to completely restructure the Lufthansa Group, redesign the route network, achieve an Open Skies Aviation Agreement with the US, and return the company to profitability. Fred has also held marketing and management positions with Pan American World Airways and American Airlines.

Fred has significant director-level experience on both corporate and not-for-profit boards. He presently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Sonoma Land Trust, and sits on the Board of the Commonwealth Club, the nation’s oldest public forum for ideas and education. He is also a Director of Jet Limo, a private aviation concern, and serves as an Advisor to the Taub Institute for Research of Diseases of the Aging Brain. He currently is a Director of and serves on the Advisory Boards of Thayer Ventures and of Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease. Fred previously had been a member of the Boards of Directors of Flexjet, Virgin America, Delta Connection, Song Airlines, and AMB Property Corporation (now Prologis), a global REIT, as well as several non-profit organizations including the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation.

A native of San Francisco, Fred is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He is multilingual (English, French, German) and multicultural (lived in eight countries).