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.
While Munoz said he was “on the road to recovery” last November, it sure seemed like a long road, given that he had a heart transplant in January of this year. Still, he immediately said he expected to return in the first quarter of 2016, which seemed highly optimistic following such a procedure.
Sure enough, Munoz returned to his job in March, and has made a surprising number of appearances since then. Yesterday he hosted the unveiling of United’s new premium product at Webster Hall in New York, something which was covered extensively.
Munoz was named CEO of United Continental Holdings Inc. last fall but took medical leave in October after suffering a heart attack just six weeks into the job. In January he had a heart transplant and returned to work full-time in March.
Since then, Munoz has been flying around the country visiting employees and key clients. Under doctor’s orders, he’s only flown on private planes following the transplant, avoiding all commercial jets, including those of his own airline.
Munoz says he tours enough planes on the ground and sees employees in action and that the flight restriction will be lifted in a few weeks.
While I don’t know exactly what makes a private jet better than a commercial jet for someone who is functional but recently had a heart transplant (maybe a doctor can chime in here?), I of course assume it’s legit.
It’s different than United’s CEO several years back, Glenn Tilton, who was rumored to never eat or drink anything on planes out of fear of being poisoned by the crew.