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It’s been a turbulent few months on United Airlines’ management floor. In September, former United CEO Jeff Smisek was fired and replaced by Oscar Munoz, who managed to make a bit of progress after just a few weeks on the job. Then, just a few weeks ago, Munoz suffered a heart attack, with interim CEO Brett J. Hart stepping in for the time being.

This afternoon, for the first time since his hospitalization, Munoz spoke publicly in a memo to the United team, and announced his plans to return to the airline in the first quarter of 2016.

United CEO Oscar Munoz will return in 2016.
United CEO Oscar Munoz will return in 2016.

Here’s Munoz’s statement in full:

Dear United team, Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers you sent to my family and me over the past few weeks. I am excited to tell you that I am on the road to recovery. My time away will be a little longer than I would like, but based upon discussion with my doctors I will be back in the first quarter. I’m personally grateful to Brett and the entire management team for their leadership and for embracing United’s new direction. I know each one of you is committed to achieving our full potential, continuing to focus on building and delivering our shared purpose of making United not only the best airline to fly, but also the best place to work. While I have been part of the United family for only a short time, I’ve built many valued and strong relationships so far, and I can’t wait to come back. As I’m sure you can appreciate, this has been a difficult time for me and my family. Your messages of encouragement have helped profoundly. I look forward to seeing you in 2016 to continue working together to build a great airline. Sincerely, Oscar.

This is fantastic news, not only for Munoz and his family, but also the United, which could certainly benefit from some solid leadership. We wish Munoz a speedy recover and look forward to many improvements in 2016!

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