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United Continental CEO Oscar Munoz Responds To Employees After Heart Attack

November 5, 2015 - Back on October 15, 2015, United Continental President and CEO Oscar Munoz had a heart attack and was hospitalized at a Chicago hospital. At that time the airline released a statement that said "We have been informed by Oscar's family that he was admitted to the hospital on Thursday, and we will provide further details as appropriate. In the meantime, we are continuing to operate normally".

A person close to the matter indicated United's board would wait until they heard more about the severity of Munoz's heart attack before deciding whether the company would appoint an interim chief.

On the 16th, United Union Coalition which represents; Air Line Pilots Association, UAL-Association of Flight Attendants, CAL-Association of Flight Attendants, CMI-Association of Flight Attendants, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Professional Airline Flight Control Association and, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA released a statement:

“On behalf of United’s represented employees, we wish United CEO Oscar Munoz a quick and full recovery from the health setback he experienced on Thursday. Our thoughts are with Mr. Munoz and his family as they go through this difficult time. We look forward to Mr. Munoz’ return as we will continue working together for the betterment of the world’s best airline.”


On the 19th United Continental Holdings, Inc. announced that Munoz was place on a company medical leave following his heart attack, "At this time, it is too soon to know the course of treatment and timing of recovery".

The UAL board of directors named Brett J. Hart, currently United's executive vice president and general counsel, as acting CEO, the appointment is effective immediately. "The board of directors remains actively engaged in preparing for all potential outcomes regarding the company's leadership structure."



On November 5th United released a letter to its employees on behalf of President and CEO Oscar Munoz: "Dear United team, Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers you sent to my family and me over the past few weeks. I am excited to tell you that I am on the road to recovery. My time away will be a little longer than I would like, but based upon discussion with my doctors I will be back in the first quarter.

"I'm personally grateful to Brett and the entire management team for their leadership and for embracing United's new direction. I know each one of you is committed to achieving our full potential, continuing to focus on building and delivering our shared purpose of making United not only the best airline to fly, but also the best place to work. "While I have been part of the United family for only a short time, I've built many valued and strong relationships so far, and I can't wait to come back.

"As I'm sure you can appreciate, this has been a difficult time for me and my family. Your messages of encouragement have helped profoundly. I look forward to seeing you in 2016 to continue working together to build a great airline." Sincerely, Oscar. In addition to serving as United's general counsel, Hart has been responsible for government and regulatory affairs, corporate real estate, customer experience, corporate security, community affairs, contact centers and food services. Prior to joining United in 2010, Hart served as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Sara Lee, partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, and special assistant to the general counsel at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Hart has a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and English from the University of Michigan and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

Hart will work closely with Henry L. Meyer III, non-executive chairman of the board, and United's experienced executive team to run the company in Munoz's absence. "Brett has taken on increasing responsibility beyond general counsel over the last few years in the operations and customer facing areas of the company. I am confident in his ability to continue to implement the company's strategy and Oscar's mission of bringing United's people together around the shared purpose of becoming the best airline for our customers and employees," said Meyer.

"Oscar's agenda is focused on customer service, teamwork and innovation and I, along with the executive team, will continue to move quickly to implement it," said Hart. "We believe strongly that we can continue to make steady progress on increasing shareholder value by working together to deliver a great product to our customers."
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