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United CEO Oscar Munoz to leave post in May

By Don Jacobson
United CEO Oscar Munoz to leave post in May
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, seen here at a 2017 U.S. House transportation committee hearing, announced Thursday he will be succeeded as CEO by Scott Kirby in May. File photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 5 (UPI) -- United Airlines announced a leadership change Thursday, saying CEO Oscar Munoz will leave the post in May and will be replaced by President Scott Kirby.

Kirby, who was hired away from American Airlines in 2016, will take over as United's day-to-day operations chief after being credited with spearheading successful capacity expansion and customer service initiatives.

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"I am honored to be named the next CEO of United and to succeed Oscar, whose leadership has been truly transformational," Kirby said in a statement, adding that the carrier plans to "drive forward our proven strategy and focus on being the airline customers choose to fly and return to time and again."

United's chief executive since 2016, Munoz will replace the retiring Jane Garvey as executive chairman of the board.

"When I joined United as CEO, I laid out ambitious goals to build a new spirit of United by regaining the trust of our employees and customers -- and I'm proud of how far we've come," he said.

During his time at the helm, Munoz was stung by several highly publicized instances of customer mistreatment, including a 2017 incident in which a passenger was filmed being dragged off an oversold flight by security officers.

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United's financial condition improved under Kirby, due in part to his strategy of adding new flights from secondary markets while competitors made cuts. This year, the airline is on target to achieve a third consecutive year of posting profits of at least $2 billion.

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