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Bannon's departure won't change much for Trump's White House, former CEO says

  • The departure of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon may "incrementally" change things within the administration, but at the end of the day, Trump is still Trump, former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune told CNBC.
  • "I don't think you're going to change the stripes on the leopard here," he said.
  • Bethune believes Trump is a poor business leader and poor country leader.

The departure of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon may "incrementally" change things within the administration, but at the end of the day, President Donald Trump is still a poor leader, former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune told CNBC on Friday.

"I don't think you're going to change the stripes on the leopard here. We've got a guy who's a deal-maker and running a country, running a company, running any organization is not a deal. It's about building cohesion and teamwork and cohesiveness," Bethune said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

US President Donald Trump and Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
US President Donald Trump and Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon

After numerous reports that Bannon was leaving, the White House released a statement on Friday saying, "White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day."

The controversial advisor, who holds populist nationalist ideas, helped propel Trump to office. However, tension has been festering between Bannon and other top advisors to Trump. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that discord between Bannon and national security advisor H.R. McMaster is destabilizing Trump's team.

Bannon is the latest official to leave the administration. Press secretary Sean Spicer, chief of staff Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci, who served a short stint as communications director, are among the recent high-profile departures.

Bethune noted that Trump chooses his staff, but then he later publicly humiliates some of them.

"Who's going to want to work in that environment? You've got to build loyalty through your employees and to your constituencies," Bethune said.

"He's a poor business leader and poor country leader."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk and Fred Imbert contributed to this report.