Published March 23, 2006
Charles J. Thibaudeau, former senior vice president for human resources and corporate support at Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Inc., has been named the new director of human resources for the Archdiocese of Atlanta effective March 20.
His career in human resources includes 20 years at Trans World Airlines, Inc., and the last eight years at ASA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, Inc.
At ASA he was responsible for all human resources functions, including labor relations, employee relations, training, employee benefits, compensation, organizational planning and administration. The support departments included employment and recruiting, corporate communications, customer relations, marketing, properties and faculties, and information technology.
The firm grew from 2,800 to 7,000 employees while he was there from 1998 through 2005.
In the fall of 2005 Delta sold ASA to SkyWest, Inc., which is based in Utah.
“I decided to stay in Atlanta,” Thibaudeau said.
He said that he began working for the airlines industry when he was 18. “I worked my way through college working for TWA.”
He grew up in California and received his bachelor of science degree in business administration from Woodbury University in Los Angeles and was trained at the South Bay Police Academy in Los Angeles.
At TWA, where he worked from 1978 to 1998, he had his first position in human resources in Los Angeles as a director of customer service and went on to become a regional manager in New York, St. Louis and Kansas City and later a staff vice president for employee relations.
When he retired from TWA he was senior vice president for employee relations. He directed human resources and security functions for 30,000 employees in 100 locations worldwide. Among his accomplishments was establishing and leading 100 “change teams” as part of the company’s participative management campaign, leading to ideas submitted and implemented that were valued at $60 million.
At the time he retired, TWA was downsizing, while ASA was “a growth opportunity.”
At ASA he “developed human resource management policies and procedures from the ground up,” redesigned employee recruitment programs, and designed and implemented new compensation programs for management and non-contract employees.
He and his wife, Denise, reside in Peachtree City.
A longtime colleague at TWA, now working as director of human resources for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, strongly encouraged him, he said, as he decided to make the change from the corporate to the church environment.
The deciding factor, he added, was Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, whom he called “one of the most charismatic individuals I’ve ever met, including CEOs of companies.”
“I have landed in a new place,” he said in an interview in his office at the Catholic Center on March 21. “I consider this my third act—probably a final act—in my human resources career. I am delighted to be here. In my first day I probably met about 100 people. Everybody has already made me feel part of the family.”
There are approximately 3,000 employees in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, including about 1,700 lay people, as well as members of the clergy and Religious.
Employees work at the Catholic Center in midtown Atlanta and in parishes, schools and other Catholic institutions.
The human resources department has a staff of seven in addition to the director.
“I am delighted with the caliber of the human resources staff that’s here,” Thibaudeau said.
He said that his first priority is “to learn as much as I can in an expedited time frame about how things are done here today” and then to “establish a ‘best practices’ concept for each element” of human resources.
He sees some similarities to the geographic spread he experienced in his previous work, as he looks at the widespread nature of the parishes and other Catholic institutions where employees need to be served by human resources.
Human resources, which includes benefits, administration, employment, employee assistance, and legal requirements set by federal labor laws, has “a support role and a compliance role.”
“We are going to create visions and values in the human resources organization that are supportive of the needs of the archdiocese,” Thibaudeau said, adding that this will be a “collaborative” effort with the human resources staff.
“Human resources is really a support group for the employees from the archbishop on down. Our customers are the people who work in the archdiocese.”
One area he has identified is streamlining processes by greater use of technology rather than paper documentation.
“We really want to ensure there is a customer-focused effort in everything we do,” he said.