Senior Vice President for e-Business, Delta Air Lines
Degree: Bachelors in marketing, Fordham University
Car: Lexus RX300 SUV
Stress reliever: Golf every Saturday and Sunday. "The weekends are mine."
Six months ago, Vincent Caminiti was asked to leave a high-profile job at Delta Air Lines, where he managed 10,000 employees in sales and distribution, to take the helm of a small but critical new division with just 45 employees. He is now piloting the airline into the Internet age and driving its online business efforts. Caminiti spoke with Section B Editor Mel Duvall.
Why did you want to take on the new role?
Im very passionate about this, because I think we have a real opportunity here at Delta to seize the initiative and gain a competitive edge. Were only 6 months old, but Im able to say that by 2003, the e-business organization will contribute about $300 million a year in annual benefits.
How does your role as senior vice president of e-business differ from that of Deltas chief information officer?
As the e-business leader, my role is to capture the benefits of the new economy and to work with [CIO] Bob DeRodes to get us there. For example, I own Delta.com — its look, feel and value creation. At the same time, if Im going to succeed, I have to be sure it provides what customers are looking for, so I go to Bob and say, This is what I need. He goes out and builds what I, as the business leader, am asking him to do.
Delta has been active on a number of Internet fronts, but what would you say are your top priorities?
Priority one comes under B2C [business-to-consumer]. I say that because its a revenue engine for the e-business organization. Last year, Delta.com represented 5 percent of our revenue. This year, its going to represent 10 percent. I want to really change the landscape of how we drive our revenue management technology. Ultimately, we want to have an inventory system that adjusts pricing based on who that customer is — whether theyre a lifetime customer, or based on such things as where theyre flying from. Job two is B2E [business-to-employee]. We are going to provide a corporate portal that will give every employee their own home page and provide them with access to everything thats important for them to know as an employee of Delta.
Whats the greatest challenge you face?
The greatest challenge we face is the real world. Six months ago, people were high-fiving us, saying what were doing is great. Now, the economy is slowing, we have some labor issues with our pilots and we have airline consolidation issues. People are focused on their day-to-day challenges at Delta, and Im trying to focus beyond that.
How do you measure your success?
We are building a dashboard of metrics for everything were doing. I have a dashboard for every one of our initiatives, with metrics for hard, fast results.
What was your biggest mistake?
It took longer than I would have liked to get this launched. Weve been talking about this since December of 1998. . . . Our biggest mistake was not recognizing early on that this was a gem of an idea, and getting it done sooner. Were 6 months old, but Id like us to be a year old.