CASEY'S LAW by Al Casey


If Something Can Go Right, It Should
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 An agreeably upbeat and anecdotal memoir from the corporate executive who kept American Airlines flying during a period of notable turbulence. A Boston Irishman and proud of it, Casey (who turns 77 this year) worked his way through Harvard, returning after WW II service as a US Army officer to earn an MBA. Beginning his apprenticeship in Southern Pacific's Wall Street office, the author eventually moved on to what was then the Railway Express Agency; in the demanding post of chief financial officer, Casey gained first-hand knowledge of crisis management as the cash-strapped freight forwarder struggled to survive. Resigning over a matter of moral principle, the author joined Los Angelesbased Times-Mirror, the Chandler family publishing firm he helped make a multinational media colossus. Blocked from the top job (for lack of blood ties to the Chandler clan), the competitive Casey accepted an offer to become CEO of troubled American Airlines in 1974. Piloting the global carrier through an eventful era marked by deregulation, an oil embargo, and allied challenges (including the controversial move of corporate headquarters from New York City to Dallas/Ft. Worth), he bequeathed a prospering enterprise to an impressive successor (Robert Crandall). If anything, the author's retirement has been more active than his business career. Following a stint as postmaster general during the Reagan administration, he was recruited to head the Resolution Trust Corp. (the federal agency that liquidated busted thrift institutions). While not one to advance himself as a role model for aspiring captains of industry, Casey offers a wealth of low-key guidance on tricks of the managerial trade. As a recurrent theme, moreover, he details how, in both the private and public sectors, he has made it a point of honor to reverse the thrust of Murphy's Law. A good-humored account of an uncommonly productive life, which belies the notion that nice guys finish last. (16 pages photos, not seen) (First printing of 75,000; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-55970-307-5
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Arcade
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1997