When Delta Air Lines announced last week that it was bringing NFL great Tom Brady on board as a strategic adviser to the company, the unconventional move had a lot of people wondering what football skill has to do with running an airline.
On Thursday, Delta President Glen Hauenstein shed some light on the thinking behind the partnership. The seven-time Super Bowl champion joined Delta at a company leadership conference on Wednesday, Hauenstein said during remarks in an investor presentation.
“What he brings is the culture of winning, the culture of teamwork and how you create a dynasty,” Hauenstein said. “We’ve had an incredible amount of success. And I’d say one of the things about success is that it’s actually harder to stay there than to achieve it.”
Delta has evolved since it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2007 to become the most profitable airline in the world.
“Our goal over the next five to seven years, or 10 years, or forever, is to stay in the position we’re in,” Hauenstein said. “Who better to help us along that journey than somebody who is the master of that?”
On CNBC last week, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Brady would represent the brand, but would also come inside the company and would be “talking to our people about greatness, about resilience, about excellence, about performance, in a team sport.”
Brady said he wanted to “continue to help inspire people.”
The airline has not disclosed how much it will pay Brady for his role.
Delta has followed an aggressive path to generate billions of dollars in profits over the years. It has attracted millions of customers and frequent fliers. But Delta also taken steps that have drawn criticism, including a major change to its frequent flier program announced this week that will require more spending to reach elite status.