United CEO to step down next year

Cathy Adams
A contractor was killed while loading baggage onto a United Airlines flight: Getty Images

The chief executive of United Airlines is to step down next spring.

Oscar Munoz will move to the role of executive chairman of the board of directors in May 2020.

He will be succeeded by United president J Scott Kirby, who has worked for the US carrier since August 2016.

Mr Munoz oversaw the March 2017 incident with Dr David Dao, the doctor who was violently dragged off a United plane when the flight was overbooked.

The forcible removal of Dr Dao from a United flight was a “mistake of epic proportions”, Mr Munoz admitted to US politicians at a hearing of the transportation committee of the House of Representatives in Washington DC in May 2017.

As a result, United vowed to reduce overbooking and increase the payment limit to customers who give up seats on oversold flights to $10,000.

“With United in a stronger position than ever, now is the right time to begin the process of passing the baton to a new leader,” said Mr Munoz.

He added: “One of my goals as CEO was to put in place a successful leadership transition for United Airlines. I brought Scott to United three years ago, and I am confident that there is no one in the world better equipped to lead United to even greater heights.

“It has been the honor of my career to lead the 95,000 dedicated professionals who serve United’s customers every day. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Scott in the months ahead and supporting the company’s ongoing success in my new role.”

Mr Kirby said: “I look forward to working with Oscar, the board, our established leadership team and every United employee as we drive forward our proven strategy and focus on being the airline customers choose to fly and return to time and again.”

Mr Munoz will serve as executive chairman for a one-year term and will continue to work closely with Mr Kirby, the board and the wider United team.

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