United CEO Steps Down Amid Federal Investigation Related to 'Bridgegate'
United Airlines president and CEO Jeff Smisek has left his post amid an ongoing federal investigation into the carrier's association with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Under scrutiny is whether United used illegal means to influence officials there in relation to the so-called Bridgegate scandal; United continues to cooperate with federal authorities, according to a statement issued by the airline. Two other United executives, the senior vice president of corporate and government affairs and the executive vice president of communications and government affairs, also stepped down in connection with the company's internal investigation.
United named board member Oscar Munoz as its new president and CEO, effective immediately. Munoz, who also will continue to serve on the board of directors, brings executive experience from roles with AT&T, Pepsico and the Coca-Cola Company. Most recently he was president and CEO of transportation company CSX Corporation.
The board appointed Henry L. Meyer III, United's lead independent director, to serve as nonexecutive chairman of the board of directors. "Oscar's track record demonstrates that he has the right blend of strategic vision and strong leadership to continue United's upward trajectory," said Meyer in a statement. "The board thanks Jeff for his service to both United Airlines and Continental Airlines."
Smisek became president and COO of Continental Airlines in 2008, and served as president and CEO of United since the airlines' merger in 2010.