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Jeff Smisek Steps Down as United CEO

Jeff Smisek Steps Down as United CEO

United Continental Holdings announced Tuesday afternoon that Jeff Smisek is stepping down as the company’s chairman, president and CEO, effective immediately.

Oscar Munoz (photo: united airlines)

Oscar Munoz, United CEO & President

CSX Corp’s CEO Oscar Munoz has been named as Smisek’s replacement.

“It is truly a privilege to serve as United’s CEO. United has an incredible opportunity for improving an experience that is essential to the vitality of global business and to the personal lives of millions of people, for innovation, and for earnings growth,” said Munoz. “In my years serving on the board, I have been impressed by the dedication and skill of my new coworkers. Together, we will make United the top-performing airline.”


[Photos: United Airlines]

View Comments (28)


  1. Dresden

    September 8, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Buh bye. This is a welcome announcement, however now when things go the way they have I guess I will have to say I’ve been Munoz’d . . .

  2. kirkwoodj

    September 8, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    April Fools?

  3. edgewood49

    September 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm


  4. Deltahater

    September 8, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Great news. Maybe now UA will return to the friendly skies and become an airline that is good to its employees and its customers.

  5. diver858

    September 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    The end of the race to the bottom – or an acceleration?

  6. Shuttle_Endeavour

    September 8, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Why? What has caused him to step down? This feels like half the story.

  7. DL172

    September 8, 2015 at 3:08 pm


  8. milypan

    September 8, 2015 at 4:02 pm


  9. Redeyerider

    September 8, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Finally UA’s making a change I do like.

  10. WaxComb

    September 8, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Apparently it’s relating to conflict of interest. UA operated a route between EWR and CAE which appeared to not turn a profit and then when David Samson retired from PANYNJ the route was dropped 3 days later…

  11. santarosaflyer

    September 8, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Holy cow. I dreamed this like two days ago and thought I had been drinking. Stepping down immediately surely means something. No transition period.

    I hope this is a move upward. The first thing I noticed in his announcement is he talked about the employees. Jeff talked about the planes and the global network.

    But does top performing mean more ‘changes you will like’

  12. steviebas

    September 8, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    We can but hope for a turn around in United strategy

    One where they reinvest in the Customer :-)

  13. Goodtimes321

    September 8, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    WOW, I feel some hope.

  14. temecularedwing

    September 8, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Good riddance. Schmuck. Maybe United will at least pretend it wants my business.

  15. grt

    September 8, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    What about some jail time for Jeffy? And for Christie and his cronies for that matter. Let’s see what the CO apologists say now.

  16. Cymbo

    September 8, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I doubt he will be missed by staff or customers. Let’s give the new man a chance to show his skills.

  17. BDLORD

    September 8, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I can only hope the dirty bird ends up with time in jail and a huge fine.
    He’s a lawyer and he new better
    Buh Bye Jeffe

  18. nwflyboy

    September 8, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Strike up the band: Ding Dong the witch is dead!!!

  19. rolltribe

    September 8, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    FA’s on my flight to ORD tonight were elated

  20. drvannostren

    September 8, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    I knew the board would love this…now he’s stepping down but I can’t imagine he’s quitting the company is he? Why give up that kind of salary and stock options entirely?

    But what I want to know…what does The Street think about this? No one is at the highs they were a month or two ago, but I felt UA was inflated then. Where’s the short term ceiling? Does the fact that the board hates Smisek mean Wall St loves him? It seems that way. What might the new guy have on his docket? Is he gonna stick with dumping first class? Keeping the 747s as crappy as they are?

    I’m VERY intrigued.

  21. goriajk

    September 9, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Goodbye…SMI, J

  22. Chicagofly

    September 9, 2015 at 7:03 am

    I refuse to get excited by this. I’m sure Mr. Smisek got a wonderful golden parachute on his way out. All of the ruthless cost cutting is dictated by the Board of Directors so I do not expect any kind of change in that strategy. Planes are full and profits are high. You will fly United because you have to not because you want to so why spend a dime to make it more pleasant.

  23. UAemployee777

    September 9, 2015 at 7:19 am

    I must say, there is quite the buzz around Willis today…a breath of fresh air more or less.

  24. plinth857

    September 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

    His golden parachute is $5,000,000.00.

  25. DCBob


    September 9, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    It seems that he and two of his deputies were forced to resign or be fired due to the Port Authority issue involving adding flights to Columbia, SC in exchange for something at EWR.

  26. hopegrad

    September 9, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    This new directive from the US DOJ could spell big trouble for the airline, Mr. Smisek and others. Interesting timing behind the memo becoming public the day after Mr. Smisek’s departure.

  27. FlyingWithers

    September 10, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Just my humble view, but perhaps the board should hire someone that is less involved in bribing the Port Authority mob and more time getting the United and Continental employees to work together for better service A N D getting United metal from place to place ON TIME.

    American businesses can be so stupid.

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