Wednesday AM January 12th, 2011
by: Ed Mayberry, January 12, 2011 8:01:00 am
The former chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines was introduced as the 2011 chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership at the organization's annual meeting. Larry Kellner says one of his jobs will be helping to protect Houston's interests as the state legislature works with a budget shortfall.
"The legislature's got a very tough set of challenges. I don't think any of our members have seen a budget as difficult as the one they're going to face this year. And so a lot about what the Partnership needs to do--it isn't just set priorities for new programs, it's actually set priorities on existing programs and say 'okay, if we've got to make cuts and we've got to do difficult things, what are the things we can't cut? What are the things we've got to protect?' You know it's often easier just to do across-the-board cuts and say 'okay, we'll take everything down five percent, ten percent.' We're looking to protect funding for what we think are key and critical programs."
Kellner says the GHP will continue pushing for initiatives that result in job creation.
"We're a member-driven organization, that while we're public policy-focused, it's all about creating prosperity. And you do that, you've gotta have jobs to create prosperity and so we always have a focus, whether it's defending jobs we have like this year at NASA for the 6,000 jobs, or bringing new companies to Houston and making sure this is a place they want to have their business. And so it's always job one. You know, we've got the whole Opportunity Houston part of the Greater Houston Partnership that is really focused on economic development and works day-in, day-out to keep companies here and bring new companies here."
Kellner was at the helm of Continental Airlines through 2009, and is now president of Emerald Creek Group, a private equity firm.