In 1972, Mr. Lorenzo led a group of investors in acquiring Texas International Airlines (“TXI”), a small money-losing regional airline headquartered in Houston, Texas, which was turned by the late 1970’s into one of the fastest growing and most successful airlines in America. In 1980, the Lorenzo team created New York Air, the first major airline start-up after airline deregulation in late 1978, to operate in the Northeastern part of the U.S providing shuttle flights between and among New York, Boston and Washington D.C.
In 1981, after substantially expanding the business through internal organic growth, TXI acquired and merged with Continental Airlines, with Lorenzo remaining as chief executive officer. In 1977, Eastern Airlines was added to the group. The Lorenzo team was well known in the industry for pioneering many “firsts”, from being the first to drop cigar and cigarette smoking on its aircraft, to accomplishing the first and only successful unfriendly takeover of an airline – Continental.
In September 1990, after eighteen years of leading TXI/Continental as CEO, during which the company grew from eight jets and $73 million in revenue to 325 aircraft and revenue in excess of $5 billion, Mr. Lorenzo sold his ownership position to Scandinavian Airlines System. Today’s United Airlines, which merged with Continental Airlines in 2011, inherited from Mr. Lorenzo’s leadership its major hubs in Newark and Houston, its strong international franchise and its efficient structure.
After leaving the active management of Continental, Mr. Lorenzo co-founded Savoy Capital initially in Houston. The firm is active in the U.S. and internationally, investing largely for its own account in private and traded companies, and with other investors in special situations. Savoy also invests in outside managed funds of various types.
Mr. Lorenzo is active in a number of educational, philanthropic and cultural organizations. Among others, he is trustee and Vice Chairman of the Hispanic Society of America and in addition is a Trustee Emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, NJ. He has occasionally lectured at universities, written editorial pieces for national publications and has appeared on major television networks with his views.
Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Lorenzo graduated from Columbia College and Harvard Business School and is married to Sharon Lorenzo, a professor of art history at the University of Pennsylvania. They have four children. In addition to being a US citizen, Mr. Lorenzo is a citizen of the European Union (Spain).