We’ve talked in the past about Oscar Munoz and his success in bringing balance to the airline’s merger with Continental.
After 4 1/2 years at the helm and a serious illness, Munoz is retiring in May, 2020 (ref WSJ). Scott Kirby, who joined United from American Airlines 3 years ago, will be taking the CEO spot. Kirby is given credit for “sustained improvements in the company’s performance and aggressive growth” that moved United past American to become the 2nd largest U.S. air carrier by traffic (ref WSJ). Munoz has said that “With United in a stronger position than ever, now is the right time to begin the process of passing the baton to a new leader.” Kirby is well-known to industry analysts and is credited for pushing change at United and helping to engineer the airline’s turnaround in revet years. It’s said that he will take over amid a series of challenges facing the air travel industry including cost pressures from coming labor deals and slowing global economic growth that could effect domestic and international traffic. Kirby has the reputation as a detail-oriented airline executive and had made known his ambition to lead a major carrier. While at United, Kirby has realigned operations to focus on punctual departures, which is key to high-paying business passengers. He also initiated a daily morning call during which managers had to account for every wide body aircraft that weren’t in service. All the things that go into making up ALL THOSE MOVING PARTS WORKING TOGETHER. We’ll follow with interest as Kirby takes the helm.