Oscar Munoz (executive)

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Oscar Munoz
Oscar Munoz (cropped).jpg
BornJanuary 1959 (age 61)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Pepperdine University
OccupationChief Executive Officer of United Airlines
Net worthUS$26.9 million (March 2019)[2]
TermSeptember 2015 - Present
PredecessorJeff Smisek
SuccessorScott Kirby
Spouse(s)Cathy Munoz

Oscar Munoz (born January 1959) is an American businessman. He was named president and chief executive officer (CEO) of United Airlines on September 8, 2015.[3] At the time of this appointment, Munoz had been serving as a member of the board of directors of parent company United Continental Holdings (UCH) since its formation with the 2010 merger between United and Continental.[4] Munoz had been a member of Continental's board of directors since 2004.[4] On August 29, 2016, in a newly created role, United announced Scott Kirby as its president, with Muñoz being solely the CEO of the airline. [5]

On March 2017, Munoz was named "Communicator of the Year for 2017" by PRWeek.[6] The following month Munoz received widespread criticism for his handling of the issues after a ticketed passenger was forcibly removed from United Airlines Flight 3411,[7] leading Steve Barrett, Editor-in-chief of PRWeek US, to state "if PRWeek was choosing its Communicator of the Year now, we would not be awarding it to Oscar Munoz … In time, the episode and subsequent response will be quoted in textbooks as an example of how not to respond in a crisis."[8] Subsequently, on April 21, 2017, UCH announced that Munoz would remain chief executive officer of the airlines but would "not take broader control of the company as previously planned."[9] Munoz had been scheduled to assume the role of chairman of the board of UCH at the company's 2018 annual stockholders' meeting.[9]

On December 5, 2019 Munoz announced he was stepping down as CEO of United in May of 2020. He will be succeeded by current president of United, Scott Kirby. Munoz has decided to take over as Chairman of United Airlines Holdings to succeed retired Jane Garvey.[10]

Early life[edit]

Munoz was born in January 1959,[11] the oldest of nine children in a Mexican-American family living in California, and was the first in his family to graduate from college. Munoz earned a BS in business from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from Pepperdine University.[12]


Munoz was president of CSX Corporation during 2015 and its chief operating officer from 2012 to 2015.[4][13] From 2001 to 2003, Munoz served as the chief financial officer and vice president of consumer services at AT&T.[14] Munoz had worked for Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc..[3]

Munoz has twice been named among the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" by Hispanic Business magazine.[15] In March 2017, he was named "Communicator of the Year for 2017" by PRWeek.[16]

Response to violent forcible removal of passenger[edit]

On April 9, 2017, Chicago O'Hare Airport security removed four passengers from United Express Flight 3411 to make space for four employees who were deadheading to another flight. Three of the passengers left the airplane without incident, but the fourth, Dr. David Dao, refused to leave the seat he had paid for. Chicago Department of Aviation Police officers were called to remove Dao, which they accomplished by first slamming his face into the arm rest and then dragging the injured and bleeding man from the aircraft.[17][18][19] The following day, an official response from United Airlines, attributed to Munoz, apologized "for having to re-accommodate these customers" without mentioning Dao's injuries.[20] In an email to United employees, Munoz stated that he stood behind employees for having "followed established procedures" and said that Dao was "disruptive and belligerent".[17] Videos depicting the incident and Dao's injuries were widely circulated, and United Airline's shares declined.[21][22] In a second press release on April 11, which was more sensitive to public opinion, Munoz "deeply apologize[d] to the customer forcibly removed and to all other customers aboard."[23]

Munoz's handling of the incident was described by various critics as a "fumbling response,"[6][16][24] a "major disappointment,"[25] and a "sort of a self-immolation [that] makes you wonder about his choice as CEO."[26] Munoz was already under pressure from activist shareholders to improve United's performance, including its customer relations, after he took charge of the airline in 2015.[27] However, analysts remained confident of future performance.[28] Kirby will take over the CEO role from Muñoz in May 2020 at United's annual meeting.

Personal life[edit]

Munoz is married to Cathy; they have four children.[29]


Munoz suffered a heart attack on October 15, 2015, a month after becoming CEO of United Airlines.[30] On January 5, 2016, he received a heart transplant and returned to work in March 2016.[31]


  1. ^ "Oscar Munoz: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. April 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "Oscar Munoz Net Worth (2019) – wallmine.com". wallmine.com. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "United Airlines Names Oscar Munoz Chief Executive Officer". United Airlines. September 8, 2015. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Lazare, Lewis (September 8, 2015). "United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek abruptly resigns, as Oscar Munoz steps into the post". Chicago Business Journal. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  5. ^ {{cite web|url=https://hub.united.com/scott-kirby-named-president-united-2567373267.html>
  6. ^ a b Rhodan, Maya (April 10, 2017). "People Are Not Happy the United Airlines CEO Was Recently Named 'Communicator of the Year'". TIME. Time Inc. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "United Airlines boss Oscar Munoz will not resign". BBC News. April 12, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  8. ^ Barrett, Steve (April 12, 2017). "United Airlines needs to do better". PR Week US. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Wattles, Jackie; Ostrower, Jon (2017). "United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz won't be promoted to chairman", CNNMoney, updated report, April 22, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  10. ^ LeBeau, Phil (December 5, 2019). "United's Oscar Munoz to step down as CEO, President Scott Kirby will take over". CNBC. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  11. ^ "Oscar MUNOZ - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". Beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. September 8, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  12. ^ "Who Is Oscar Munoz, United Continental's New CEO?". Forbes. September 15, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  13. ^ "CSX Corp Executive Profile - Oscar Munoz". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  14. ^ Werley, Jensen (September 9, 2015). "Here's why Oscar Munoz made the surprising move from CSX to United Airlines". Chicago Business Journal. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  15. ^ "Hispanic trailblazer tapped as CEO of United Airlines", Fox News, September 9, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Sasso, Michael; Bachman, Justin; Lin, Linly (April 11, 2017). "United CEO Apologizes Again After First Mea Culpa Falls Flat". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Rosoff, Matt (April 10, 2017). "United CEO doubles down in email to employees, says passenger was 'disruptive and belligerent'". CNBC.
  18. ^ Victor, Daniel; Stevens, Matt (April 10, 2017). "United Airlines Passenger Is Dragged From an Overbooked Flight". The New York Times.
  19. ^ "'No one should ever be mistreated this way,' apologetic United CEO says in TV interview". cbc.ca. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  20. ^ Munoz, Oscar (April 10, 2017). "Response to United Express Flight 3411". United Airlines.
  21. ^ Kottasova, Ivana. "United Airlines shares set to plummet after man dragged screaming off flight". CNN Money. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  22. ^ Thomas, Lauren (April 10, 2017). "Video surfaces of man being dragged from overbooked United flight". CNBC. MBC Universal. Retrieved April 12, 2017. A video posted to Facebook Sunday evening showed what is becoming another public relations nightmare for United Airlines
  23. ^ "Statement from United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on United Express Flight 3411". United Investor Relations. United Airlines, Inc. April 11, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  24. ^ Rosoff, Matt (April 10, 2017). "United CEO doubles down in email to employees, says passenger was 'disruptive and belligerent'". CNBC. NBC Universal. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  25. ^ Petroff, Alanna (April 11, 2017). "United Airlines shows how to make a PR crisis a total disaster". CNN Money.
  26. ^ "United's Munoz Goes From Savior to Man on Hot Seat Real Fast". April 11, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2017 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  27. ^ Wise, Alana (April 12, 2017). "United Airlines faces mounting pressure over hospitalized passenger". Reuters. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  28. ^ Huston, Caitlin (April 12, 2017). "United Airlines and Pepsi's PR scandals may not hurt their stocks". Marketwatch. MarketWatch, Inc. Retrieved April 12, 2017. Analysts were mostly upbeat this week, as they focused on the carrier's investor presentation Monday. Wolfe Research reiterated its outperform rating on the stock, based on strong traffic for the airline in March and in-line passenger revenue per available seat mile. Cowen & Co. analysts also pointed to the traffic data, making no mention of the passenger incident, and raised their stock price target.
  29. ^ "How United's Oscar Munoz Bounced Back After a Heart Transplant". Fortune.com. November 18, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  30. ^ "United Continental CEO Oscar Munoz Suffers Heart Attack". Wall Street Journal. October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  31. ^ Truglia, Saverio (November 18, 2016). "How United's Oscar Munoz Bounced Back After a Heart Transplant". Fortune. Time Inc. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
Business positions
Preceded by
Jeff Smisek
CEO of United Continental Holdings
2015 – present
Preceded by
David Brown
COO of CSX Corporation
2012 – 2015
Succeeded by
Cindy Sanborn
Preceded by
Michael Ward
President of CSX Corporation
Succeeded by
Clarence Gooden