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Ex-Continental CEO: United doesn't need me

Former Continental CEO Gordon Bethune said he is no longer needed at United Continental after the airline added two new directors to its board Wednesday.

United added former Orbitz CEO Barney Harford and Ed Shapiro, a partner at PAR Capital Management, to its board as part of a settlement with activist investors PAR and Altimeter Capital Management. Robert Milton, former president and CEO of Air Canada, was also named non-executive chairman of the board.

Bethune told CNBC's "Power Lunch" that he thinks very highly of the men United added and that they bring exactly the kind of skill and knowledge of the industry he wanted.

"So, you've got two really highly experienced airline employees ... Some people with some real expertise, the ex-CEO of Orbitz. You've got this knowledgeable board with a good CEO. I think you'll see a lot of good come out of it," he said.

Investors who have been following PAR and Altimeter's activism in United may have been surprised when Bethune was not named as a board member. The hedge funds had previously demanded that Bethune be named chairman of the board.

Brad Gerstner, founder and CEO of Altimeter, told "Halftime Report" that the hedge funds' campaign has never been about Bethune or any one person.

"He was in this to improve the airline that he loves. He showed amazing leadership throughout the process and was the first to really set aside ego in order to get this deal done," Gerstner said.

Bethune agreed and said he thinks PAR and Altimeter used him as an example of the kind of experience that the people nominated to the board should have.

"Somebody on the board needs to know how to fly the airplane. It'd be helpful. They have a couple good guys so they don't need me," Bethune said.

"I loved the people at Continental, and they needed my help so I stepped up to it. I'm glad it was able to solved in this way where a good compromise is reached and they have the leadership and the board of directors they need to be successful," he concluded.