CHICAGO (CBS) — The new CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, has been hospitalized, reportedly after suffering a heart attack.
“We have been informed by Oscar’s family that he was admitted to the hospital on Thursday and we will provide further details as appropriate,” the airline said in a statement. “In the meantime, we are continuing to operate normally. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and we are respecting their privacy.”
The airline gave no explanation or details of his condition.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Munoz suffered a heart attack.
“This creates a lot of uncertainty for United at a time when the company is trying to chart a new course for itself,” Micah Maidenberg, transportation and aviation reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business, tells CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot.
Munoz, 56, was named CEO of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc. on Sept. 9 after the company made a stunning announcement that CEO Jeff Smisek had stepped down.
Smisek faced questions about whether United sought favors from the officials who operate the New York-area airports.
Federal prosecutors are investigating United’s ties to David Samson, the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a political ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Munoz was a railroad executive who had spent 11 years on the boards of Continental Airlines and United Continental, which was formed by the 2010 merger of United and Continental.
In a newspaper ad this month, Munoz apologized to customers for problems that have plagued United since the merger, including several technology outages that have caused large-scale flight delays and cancellations. United’s on-time performance has trailed its three biggest peers — American, Delta and Southwest — so far this year. In the ad, Munoz said United had failed to live up to its promises and vowed, “That’s going to change.”
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