When Scott Kirby departed American Airlines as its President he walked away with $13 million and lifetime travel privileges. He immediately became United’s President.
Kirby probably thought the role would be even bigger. When United ousted CEO Jeff Smisek as a result of a federal corruption probe, they put board member Oscar Munoz in charge. Munoz had no airline experience and quickly developed health problems.
- Munoz was supposed to become United’s Chairman. That was put on hold after the David Dao passenger dragging incident.
- It would have made perfect sense for Munoz to become non-executive Chairman and turn over the CEO job to Scott Kirby.
That could still happen. Munoz’s 5 year contract runs through 2020. During this past week’s earnings call a reporter asked Munoz whether or not he intends to stay past the end of his current employment agreement. The call was ended before he answered and it’s not reflected in the transcript.
However United offers this statement from Munoz, which goes out of its way to say anything about his future prospects with the airline,
Right now, my focus, and the focus of my team, is entirely on doing a great job every day for United by putting the customer at the center of everything we do, continuing our growth plan, and running a great airline.
Surely the details aren’t fleshed out. United just named former FAA administrator Jane Garvey as non-executive Chairwoman. Will she be ready to leave in two years? Will Munoz get pushed aside? Will Kirby stay without a path upward, or will another airline lure him away? It will likely be two years before we know.