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Black executive Brett Hart is now piloting United Airlines

26th October 2015   ·   0 Comments

By Frederick H. Lowe
Contributing Writer

(Special from NorthStarNews Today) – United Continental Holdings, Inc., parent company of United Airlines, has named Brett J. Hart United’s interim CEO, replacing Oscar Munoz who is on medical leave after suffering a heart attack earlier this month. Munoz also is the company’s president.

Hart, executive vice-president and general counsel of Chicago-based United, becomes the first African American to head a major airline. United Continental’s board selected him for the job on October 19.



In June, The Economist, a British magazine, ranked United Airlines fourth-largest in the number of passengers served behind number one Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and China Southern Airlines,

Prior to joining United, Hart was executive vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Sara Lee, the former consumer goods company, partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, a now-defunct law firm. He was also special assistant to the general counsel at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Hart earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and English from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the University of Chicago School of Law.

Munoz suffered a heart attack on Oct. 15 and took a medical leave of absence for an undetermined period. “At this time, it is too soon to know the course of treatment and time of recovery,” the UAL’s board said in a statement.

Hart will work closely with Henry L. Meyer III, non-executive chairman of the board and United’s executive team, to run the airline in Munoz’s absence.

“Brett has taken on increasing responsibility beyond general counsel over the last few years in the operations and customer-facing areas of the company,” Meyer said. “I am confident in his ability to continue to implement the company strategy and Oscar’s mission of bringing United’s people together around the shared purpose of becoming the best airline for our customers and employees.”

Munoz focused on customer service, teamwork and innovation, said Hart, who is responsible for government and regulatory affairs, corporate real estate, customer service, corporate security, community affairs, contact centers and food services.

United Airlines and United Express operate nearly 5,000 flights a day to 373 airports across six continents. Last year, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 138 million customers.

The company employs more than 84,000 full- and part-time workers worldwide, according to company information.

This article originally published in the October 26, 2015 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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