Report: United CEO Replaced Amidst Federal Investigation

According to an Associated Press report, United Airlines “abruptly” replaced CEO Jeffery Smisek as “a federal investigation continued into whether the airline gave preferential treatment to the former chairman of the agency that operates the New York-area airports.” According to another report, Smisek resigned and denied any wrongdoing.

Investigation into United CEO

Among the allegations:

“Federal prosecutors are probing United’s ties to David Samson, the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. United began a direct flight between Newark, N.J., and Columbia, S.C., where Samson has a summer home, while he was chairman and ended it days after he resigned last year. United, the dominant airline at Newark Liberty International Airport, was negotiating with the Port Authority over projects at the airport at the same time.” —AP, Sept. 9, 2015

Smisk has been replaced by 56 year old Oscar Munoz, a “railroad executive and head of United’s audit committee” says the AP, a move that has been generally applauded by the airline’s flight attendants’ and pilots’ unions.

Smisek, meanwhile, reportedly got a severance package of $4.9 million, plus he gets to keep his company car. It should be pointed out that no United executives (or Samson) have been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.  More on Smisek’s golden parachute in this amusing and angry column.

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Updated: September 11, 2015