A report released Wednesday shows that United’s CEO Oscar Munoz should be back in office in Q2, but no official date was unveiled. Munoz had a heart attack a couple of months ago and underwent a heart transplant.
Initially, the company said that he would be good to go in the first quarter, but despite reports that he is recovering well he would end his medical leave at the start of the second quarter.
In the meantime, the second-largest airliner in the U.S. named general counsel Brett Hart to run the business.
Doctors at the hospital in which the transplant was performed said that Munoz’ condition was ‘excellent’ and that his new heart was doing ‘very well.’ This is great news for United, which has faced a wave of criticism in recent months that in Munoz’s absence the company is run by people who lack the necessary experience.
Munoz was named top executive in September in the wake of a scandal related to the company’s ties to the Port Authority of New York, which had the left the company without a chief executive.
Nevertheless, during Munoz’s leave, the team that runs the giant in interim followed the agenda he had proposed before having the heart attack. For instance, the carrier made efforts to boost employees’ morale and sought to keep customers satisfied. So far, a recent report shows that in 2015 United customer satisfaction was the lowest among competitors.
Shares are also affected, with a five percent slip recorded on Jan. 7. Analysts hope that the company would immediately issue a succession planning to prevent shares from sinking even lower in Munoz’s absence.
The airline’s board of directors pledged to keep an eye on their CEO and brief investors on his health status.
The company and Munoz inked an employment deal last month. According to the agreement, the CEO will be granted $1.25 million on an annual basis, have a $5.2 million bonus for signing the contract and would be granted and extra $10.5 million in the coming years.
Prior to the heart transplant, his health visibly improved with help from an implanted device. He was able to visit workers, and attend company meetings for a short time last month.
The company recently announced that a heart transplant was a more viable solution on the long run than the medical device which kept his damaged heart running. United declined to link the delay in Munoz’s recovery to the surgery.
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