Airline expert asks 'Why do companies keep getting it wrong?'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Rob Britton has witnessed many ups and downs during his nearly five decades in the airline industry. Today, he continues his work as a consultant who helps aviation and travel companies build effective business plans in an ever-evolving and unpredictable field.

At 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Freeman Auditorium, Britton will speak frankly about several recent crises that have made headlines, including incidents at Volkswagen, Wells Fargo, Uber, and others. He will emphasize the need for ethical behavior before, during and after a crisis in a lecture titled “Crisis Management: Why do Companies Keep Getting it Wrong?”

Since 2007, Britton has led AirLearn, a consultancy focused on aviation and travel marketing and communications, as well as helping students at business and law schools understand the airline industry.

Prior to founding AirLearn, Britton was managing director of advertising at American Airlines for five years. He led a team responsible for the airline’s brand development, media advertising, sales promotion and customer research. His team helped rebuild American Airlines’ brand after the Sept. 11 disaster. During his 22 years at American, Britton led other departments, including corporate communications, food & beverage, and international affairs.

In addition to his career in the airline industry, Britton has been an invited guest lecturer at a number of institutions all over the world. Since 1989, he has delivered nearly 500 talks at 100 institutions in more than 20 countries. He also teaches specialized MBA courses on sales and distribution strategy and crisis management at Georgetown University. He received a doctorate in geography from the University of Minnesota in 1978 and a postdoctoral management certificate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

The lecture is a part of the Arthur W. Page Center’s Professional-in-Residence program. Thanks to generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, top communicators visit the University Park campus each semester to talk with communications classes, meet with faculty and deliver a free, public keynote speech.

The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication is a research center in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State. The center funds research projects aimed to build the scholarly and public understanding of ethics in communications. To date, the center has funded more than 200 scholars and awarded more than $750,000 in research funding. 

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Last Updated January 30, 2018