Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2006 (Revised July 2007)

Juan Trippe and Pan American World Airways

by Nitin Nohria, Anthony Mayo and Mark Rennella


A fascination with flight and a forceful personality helped to create a market for air travel and shape the modern airline industry. Masterfully wielding his power and influence, Juan Trippe built Pan American Airways by combining bold moves and blind ambition. Across decades of sweeping cultural and technological change, his tenacity and cunning played a lead role in defining the arc of the aviation industry not only in the United States, but around the world. By studying the opportunities he exploited and the outcomes of his decisions within their historical context, a nuanced understanding of leadership, strategy, and sustainability emerges.

Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Leadership; Growth and Development Strategy; Industry Growth; Business and Government Relations; Power and Influence; Air Transportation; Air Transportation Industry; Travel Industry;


Nohria, Nitin, Anthony Mayo, and Mark Rennella. "Juan Trippe and Pan American World Airways." Harvard Business School Case 406-086, January 2006. (Revised July 2007.)