United Airlines CEO to have 'healthy recovery,' his family says

Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:19pm EDT
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By Ankit Ajmera and Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) - United Airlines (UAL.N: Quote) Chief Executive Oscar Munoz's family told the airline's employees on Monday they expected him to have a "healthy recovery" but provided no further details about why he had been hospitalized.

Munoz, 56, suffered a heart attack last Thursday less than two months after taking the top job at United Continental Holdings Inc, a source familiar with the matter has said.

United has declined to offer details of Munoz's condition or whether it would replace him on an interim basis. The email from his family, while mostly thanking employees for their well-wishes, offered the first hint of his prognosis since Friday.

"We continue to read your words of encouragement and know that our spirits remain high as we look forward to a healthy recovery," according to the email, which was seen by Reuters.

The second largest U.S. airline by capacity has only said it will finish on Monday the "corporate governance process" brought about by Munoz's hospitalization, with plans to provide more details Monday or Tuesday.

Long-time executive Jim Compton, the airline's chief revenue officer, is seen as a logical candidate for interim CEO, a former U.S. airline executive said on condition of anonymity.

Munoz's hospitalization interrupted his efforts to rebuild morale at United, which has struggled with late flight arrivals and strained relations with unions.

Munoz spent his first month on the job traversing the United States to meet with workers and flyers for input on how to improve the airline. Unions have welcomed Munoz, hoping he would push the company to conclude contracts with flight attendants and maintenance workers that have been stalled for years.   Continued...

United Continental Holdings Inc CEO Oscar Munoz is seen in an undated handout picture courtesy of United Airlines. REUTERS/Courtesy of United Airlines/Handout