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Continental Airlines chief to retire

HOUSTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Continental Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gordon Bethune will retire at the end of this year, the carrier announced Friday in Houston.

Larry Kellner, 44, Continental's president and chief operating officer, will succeed Bethune as chairman and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2005.

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"Larry Kellner is a strong leader with tremendous people, operational, marketing and analytical skills," said Bethune. "We've all worked closely with Larry for nine years, and he's the perfect choice to succeed me at Continental."

Bethune, 62, has been widely credited with turning around the airline in the 10 years he has been with the Houston-based carrier.

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