LOS ANGELES, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- United Airlines Inc. CEO Oscar Munoz underwent a heart transplant and was expected back to work by the second quarter of 2016, the company said.
Munoz, 56, was hospitalized after an October heart attack, five weeks after becoming United's CEO. A statement by the company said the transplant procedure, performed Wednesday in Los Angeles, "was considered the preferred treatment and was not the result of a setback in his recovery."
He was previously president of the railroad company CSX and worked as an executive at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and AT&T.
Munoz replaced outgoing CEO Jef Smisek at United Airlines in September. Smisek and two other high-ranking United officials -- Executive Vice President of Communications Nene Foxhole and Senior Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs Mark Anderson -- resigned amid an ongoing federal investigation into whether the airline acted illegally by maintaining a route from South Carolina to New Jersey.
Investigators suspect the route may have existed to serve David Samson, the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- which operates Newark-Liberty International Airport. At the time the route was created, the airline was planning major changes at the airport, a United hub.
Doug G. Ware contributed to this report.