According to the announcement of United Airlines, Michael Leskinen has been promoted to the position of Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President. In this new role, he will have oversight of various financial aspects, including corporate finance, treasury, financial planning and analysis, tax, accounting, investor relations, procurement, internal audit, risk management, and corporate strategy. Leskinen will also become a part of the airline’s Executive Team.
Earlier this year, United had announced that the former CFO, Gerry Laderman, would continue in the role until his successor was appointed. Subsequently, he would serve as EVP Finance until his planned retirement in September 2024.
Leskinen initially joined United in 2018 as the managing director of Investor Relations and was later promoted to the position of vice president of Corporate Development and Investor Relations in 2019. In 2021, he assumed the additional role of President of United Airlines Ventures (UAV), a pioneering corporate venture capital fund in the industry that focuses on identifying and investing in opportunities to decarbonize air travel and enhance the customer travel experience. UAV has made investments in technologies related to carbon capture and utilization, advanced biologic feedstocks like micro-algae, electric fixed-wing regional aircraft, and electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL).
In 2020, Leskinen led a multi-divisional team that successfully raised $6.8 billion in financing secured by the airline’s MileagePlus loyalty program, an industry-first move that provided United with essential financial flexibility during the pandemic. More recently, he oversaw the launch of a nearly $200 million corporate investment fund, including investments from UAV and other corporate and financial sponsors, which supports start-ups focused on accelerating research and production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). In the first eight months of 2023, United emerged as the top-performing North American airline stock.
Before joining United, Leskinen served as an executive director at J.P. Morgan Asset Management from 2013 to 2017, where he led the firm’s investment efforts in the aerospace, defense, and airline sectors. Between 2009 and 2013, he worked at Oppenheimer Funds, concentrating on the aerospace sector. Leskinen holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Arizona State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
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