Steve Rothmeier, the former CEO of Northwest Airlines who oversaw a company merger in the 1980s, has died, according to former colleague Brent Baskfield, one time vice president of ground operations.
The Star Tribune reports Rothmeier died Friday at a nursing home in Florida. He was 67.
Northwest's 1985 merger with competitor Republic Airlines was the largest in history up to that point. Northwest paid $884 million for Republic.
It was part of Rothmeier's effort to find new customers after airline deregulation in the late 1970s lifted restrictions on routes and pricing.
At the time Rothmeier's said the airline needed to get bigger, and the need to act was urgent. "The world is changing quickly," he said. "The competitive marketplace is dictating a lot of action that, in the past, probably would have been considered rather unusual for Northwest."
Rothermeier was replaced as CEO of Northwest in 1989 after a company buyout.
He started the private investment and banking firm Great Northern Capital in the early 1990s.