News that John Dietrich (pictured), former CEO of Atlas Air, is to replace Michael Lenz as CFO of FedEx, may not be welcomed by the integrator’s pilots.

Mr Lenz announced his retirement last month after 18 years at the express company, although he will continue as senior adviser until the end of the year.

Mr Dietrich, 58, left Atlas in June, after more than 24 years. He became Atlas’s president and CEO in January 2020, leading the de-listing and sale of the carrier to an investor group led by Apollo Global Management this year.

But among pilot circles, he was best known for being the architect of Atlas Air’s strategy in cementing its new joint collective bargaining agreement, a process which involved law courts, five years of negotiations, a mediator – and much pilot wrath.

While then CCO, now CEO, Michael Steen was said to be more sympathetic to the pilots – even if only in an attempt to avoid disruption to customers – Mr Dietrich was thought to be the one paying hardball.

FedEx’s pilots, according to those of Atlas Air, are already on better terms and conditions, but relations with FedEx management are poor – although under consideration.

The FedEx Master Executive Council (MEC), the governing body of the FedEx arm of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), approved a tentative pilot contract at the end of May. The ratification ballot has opened and will close on 24 July. If agreed, the new contract will take effect in August and can be amended from 2028.

With UPS pilots set for a strike next month, FedEx could pick up some business if its pilots agree the new contract.

And if they don’t, they could possibly see a “strategic move” from their new CFO.

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