United says that CEO Oscar Munoz won’t become the company’s chairman next year as previously planned—and possibly never will.
Munoz was widely criticized for repeatedly flubbing the PR response to a United passenger who was violently dragged off a packed flight to make room for United crew members.
He was set to become chairman of next year, but in a filing with US financial regulators on Friday (April 21) the airline said the move might never happen:
Munoz “desires to remove the provisions in the Employment Agreement related to the future appointment of Executive as Chairman of the Board, and to leave future determinations related to the Chairman position to the discretion of the Board, and the Board is willing to agree to such change.”
United Airlines’ chief executive started his week still on his apology tour, after David Dao was forcibly removed from the April 9 flight in Chicago. He had stumbled in a series of responses to the incident, most notably his first, in which his detached corporate-speak—“I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers”—was roundly slammed as insensitive.
Munoz later offered a message of remorse atop the company’s quarterly earnings release, before it unveiled that, yes, United is still making money:
The incident that took place aboard Flight 3411 has been a humbling experience, and I take full responsibility. This will prove to be a watershed moment for our company, and we are more determined than ever to put our customers at the center of everything we do.
So now it is clear that the moment was not only a watershed for United—which has pledged to become the best in US customer service—but the airline’s CEO as well.
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