Smisek was replaced by Oscar Munoz, who seems like a good guy who genuinely wants to change United for the better. Unfortunately Munoz suffered a heart attack about a month into his tenure.
A few days after Munoz’s heart attack, United named a new acting CEO, Brett J. Hart. Hart was United’s executive vice president and general counsel. That seemed like an odd choice to me, given that Smisek was also general counsel at Continental back in the day. If United was truly trying to show their customers and employees that they wanted to take a new direction, you’d think they wouldn’t appoint someone with a similar history.
In November, Munoz shared an update on his condition and said he was “on the road to recovery,” and that he planned on being back in his role at United by the first quarter of 2016.
It has just been reported that Oscar Munoz had a heart transplant today, which is kind of a big deal. Via an update from United:
United Airlines today announced that Oscar Munoz, the company’s president and CEO, underwent a heart transplant operation early today and is in recovery. A transplant was considered the preferred treatment and was not the result of a setback in his recovery. The United team wishes Oscar well during his recovery, and expects him to return to United at the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter.
The company will provide additional information in the next 24 hours.
Wow! I hope he recovers speedily and wish him the best. While I’m (obviously) not a doctor, based on everything I’ve read a return by the end of the first quarter or early in the second quarter seems highly optimistic.
Here’s to hoping the recovery is quick and he can return to his role, as he seems like a great guy! Obviously I respect the right to privacy for him and his family during this time, though once he’s fully recovered it would be fascinating to hear a bit more — was there a previous heart condition, were they planning on a heart transplant all along, etc.