Originally created 11/14/97

Additional business news



Delta ordering new passenger jets

ATLANTA -- In pep rally style, Delta Air Lines' new chief announced Thursday to cheering employees that the carrier plans to order 10 of the new Boeing 777 wide-body aircraft.

"This is truly state of the art," Leo F. Mullin, Delta's president and CEO, told up to 4,000 pilots, mechanics, flight attendants and other workers packed into the technical operations center. "This will really help move us forward."

The Boeing 777-200 is a long-range version of the world's biggest twin-engine jet and has 305 seats. The first new planes are expected in late 1999. Delta took options, or reserved production slots, for 10 of the 777s last spring. Delta has another 20 options, plus the possibility for more, on the 777 craft.

The orders are part of an earlier-announced 20-year deal with Boeing that includes 106 firm aircraft orders totaling $6.7 billion, plus options.

The announcement was the first large employee meeting addressed by Mullin, a Chicago utility executive chosen in August to lead the carrier. Mr. Mullin repeated pledges to make the airline's management more inclusive and to build morale while improving Delta's customer service performance.

"We all need to work better as a team," Mr. Mullin said.

Scott gets massive severance package

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which owns Columbia Augusta Medical Center, agreed to give Richard Scott a $9.9 million severance package when the nation's largest publicly traded hospital chain forced him out as chief executive officer, according to federal documents filed Thursday.

Mr. Scott received a lump sum payment of $5.1 million when he resigned July 25 under pressure from Columbia's board as a federal fraud investigation began engulfing Columbia, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Over the next five years he'll collect another $4.8 million through annual consulting fees of $950,000.

Mr. Scott, who co-founded the $20 billion company a decade ago with two Texas hospitals, was making a base salary of $900,000 a year.

David Vandewater, the Columbia president and chief operating officer who was forced out with Scott, received a one-time payment of $3.24 million, and will get $500,000 a year for consulting.