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Delta board director joins Wheels Up as CEO
The appointment of George Mattson brings an alignment with Delta that will closely link the separate ecosystems of private and commercial travel.
Wheels Up CEO George Mattson.

Wheels Up Experience has appointed George N Mattson as chief executive officer. Mattson brings 25 years of aviation experience as a strategic advisor, financier, business owner/operator and director.

"In ten years, Wheels Up has grown from a start-up into a global leader in private aviation, with a strong consumer brand and loyal member community," Mattson says. "I look forward to leading the 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."

"George is an exceptional business leader whose background will be instrumental to the continued success of Wheels Up," notes Delta CEO Ed Bastian. "With new leadership in place, the company is well-positioned to drive strategic, operational and financial improvements for its customers and stakeholders in the months and years ahead."

Mattson is a long-standing member of Delta's board of directors, and he served as a partner and co-head of the global industrials group in investment banking at Goldman Sachs from 2002 to 2012, where responsibilities included oversight of the transportation and airline practices. Since 2014, he has been the lead investor and chairman of seaplane operator and Wheels Up partner Tropic Ocean Airways.

"I look forward to working with George as he brings his expertise and leadership to Wheels Up," says Dan Janki, Wheels Up chairman and Delta's chief financial officer. "I would also like to thank interim CEO Todd Smith for his leadership through this period of transition. The changes made during his tenure are expected to stabilise the business and will help drive future profitability and an elevated experience for our members. Todd will continue his work as Wheels Up CFO."

"Our alignment with Delta provides an incredible opportunity for the first time in aviation history to create seamless experiences between the separate ecosystems of private and commercial travel," adds Mattson. "I'm thrilled to be working with our world class team and our great partners to realise this tremendous potential in the years to come."

Wheels Up has a non-binding agreement in principle for a facility of up to $500m that includes funds contributed by Delta Air Lines.

Wheels Up has been part of Delta's broad portfolio of partners since 2020.

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