United CEO returning to work two months after heart transplant

oscar munoz united ceo

United Airlines’ CEO will be back at work full time next week after undergoing heart transplant surgery on January 6.

Oscar Muñoz is due back March 14, and said in a statement Sunday that he is “thrilled” to return.

Munoz was named CEO in September 2015 and began medical leave after just 41 days following a heart attack.

Brett Hart, United’s general counsel, has been serving as the acting CEO.

Munoz spoke to analysts on the company’s latest earnings call in late January, and has been steering the company at varying degrees. Before his heart transplant, Muñoz “had been cleared to return to work” with the use of an implanted medical device. He also said shortly after his heart transplant that he planned to “participate in key meetings” before returning full time.

Muñoz had been president of CSX Corp, a railroad company. He took over at United from Jeff Smisek, who left amid a federal investigation into whether it created a flight from Newark to South Carolina solely to benefit the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

United had other problems too: It ranked low in customer satisfaction, employee morale was hurting, and United’s (UAL) stock was on a downward slide.

In a statement Sunday, Munoz said the company is “performing well.”

“[O]ur team has been focused on our employees, improving the operation and the customer experience, and the results are starting to show,” he said.

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