Caribbean Airlines CEO – plane speaking


Tyrone Tang, Caribbean Airlines CEO, chats about the air passenger business. Gerald. V. Paul photo.
Tyrone Tang, Caribbean Airlines CEO, chats about the air passenger business. Gerald. V. Paul photo.

Eyesers, this is a continuation of my exclusive interview with Tyrone Tang, CEO and CFO of Caribbean Airlines, at the recent Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Caribbean Week in Toronto.
And congrats Caribbean Airlines, the region’s leading airline, in the World Travel Awards, now having won five years in a row and for that special award you received during Caribbean Week.
Since my early days as a student at the International Institute of Travel, I have always gloried in the airline, travel and tourism business – perhaps it had to do with Dad giving me as a Christmas gift a wee plane. In da wee hours of da morn!
They say first impressions are lasting. As for the exclusive interview with Tang? I’m sold on his leadership style.
Ah! Servant leadership. Transnational and transforming.
Transforming in that it’s a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents.
Like servant leader David Rudder “Trini to De Bone” and a precious Caribbean man, Tang stressed it’s teamwork as he communicates to connect, not like Machel Montano, “Like Ah Boss.”
Methinks Tang – McMaster University and PriceWaterhouse accountancy trained – sees himself as a businessman in a win-win spot. He may also be a student of Dr. James MacGregor Burns.
Pulitzer Prize winner Burns is the author of the seminal book on power, Leadership. In it, Burns noted one of the most universal cravings of our time is a hunger for compelling and creative leadership.
“The crisis of leadership today is the mediocrity or irresponsibility of so many of the men and women in power but leadership rarely rises to the full need for it. The fundamental crisis underlying mediocrity is intellectual.
If we if we know all too much about our leader, we know far too little about leadership. We fail to grasp the essence of leadership that is relevant to the modern age and hence we cannot agree even on the standards by which to measure, recruit, and reject it.”
This begs the question – be it Rudder or Montano – is leadership simply innovation, cultural or political? Is it essentially inspiration? Mobilization of followers? Goal setting and fulfillment?
“Follow de leader, leader …” as the song goes. Satisfier of needs? Or is the leader the definer of values? Indeed, Eyesers, leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on Earth.
Of course, Tang would glory in James’ elevating power of leadership: sharpened and strengthened conflict, values can be a source of vital change. And Tang is a change agent and agent of change.
Indeed, the potential for influence, according to James, is usually immense.
He notes the essence of leadership in any polity is the recognition of real need, the uncovering and exploiting of contradictions among values and between values and practice, the realigning of values, the reorganization of institutions where necessary and the governance of change.
Essentially, the leader’s task is consciousness-raising on a wide plane.
Ah! Boss, da plane…, with apologies to Tattoo of TV’s Fantasy Island fame.
Thanks for your precious time in that exclusive interview, CEO Tang.
One Caribbean Love.

By Gerald V. Paul

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