The Sterling Team

Ben Baldanza

Operating Partner

Ben is an Operating Partner at Sterling and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of All My Sons and Aurora Parts & Accessories.  Prior to his involvement with Sterling, Ben was originally hired as President of Spirit Airlines in 2005 and was elevated to CEO in 2006. Tasked with leading the airline to profitability, Ben began a full transformation process in finance, marketing, and operations.

As CEO of Spirit, Ben focused on growing the airline not just through high-level channels, but through innovative approaches to ancillary revenue. Ben spearheaded major changes in Spirit’s aircraft fleet, defensible franchise network, unbundling of pricing, and full preparation for IPO.  By the time Ben concluded his tenure, Spirit Airlines had become the highest margin airline in the United States.

Prior to Spirit, Ben held roles at American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Parcel Service (Atlanta, GA), Continental Airlines, the Taca Group, and US Airways.  He was a key contributor to Continental’s “worst to first” restructuring, which improved market capitalization by over $2 billion, delivered eight consecutive quarters of profitability, and is known today as the most successful airline turnaround of the 1990s.

Ben serves on the Board of Directors for JetBlue Airlines.  He is also an operating partner in the Connor Capital Transport Opportunities fund, a newly established equity fund to invest in transportation opportunities. 


Ben is an adjunct professor in the Economics Department of George Mason University.  His writings with respect to the airline industry have been widely published.



M.P.A. Princeton University
B.S. Syracuse University