MIAMI — In a letter from the United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association to its members, Captain Todd Insler, Chairman of the Union representing over 12,000 pilots, has stated his support of United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz amid a brawl of two hedge funds to elect six new members to the Board of Directors of the Chicago-based carrier.
Munoz was appointed CEO last September, after his predecessor, Jeff Smisek, was ousted amid a Federal investigation probing the link of the Chicago-based carrier to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ), operators of Newark Liberty International Airport.
A few weeks after his appointment, Munoz suffered a heart attack, and received a heart transplant while on leave. General counsel and vice president Brett Hart served as acting CEO until the return of Munoz last March 14.
Hedge funds Altimeter Capital and PAR Capital proposed a six-member shareholder slate, headed by former Continental CEO Gordon Bethune. According to Insler, “Mr. Bethune inarguably created a wonderful legacy for Continental airlines and himself, which we hope will remain untouched and untarnished by those attempting to use him as a distraction in their attempt to raid United’s corporate assets.”
During his tenure, Munoz has worked to mend labor relations and catch up with Delta Air Lines and American Airlines on on-time arrivals and profit margins. “We support the positive direction that he [Munoz] has taken thus far. We are not interested in outsiders who are late to the party and interfering with United’s bright future” Insler noted.