United’s PR Chief Leaves as the Company Buys Back $3 Billion in Shares
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
According to Bloomberg, Jim Olson sent out a letter to employees notifying of his resignation which will be effective January 8. Olson, a former Starbucks executive and the current SVP of corporate communications for United, worked for the airline for two years and was brought in during a time of upheaval at the company.
This news comes on the same day that United announced it would be buying back $3 billion of its shares from investors — that’s about 17 percent of the company’s value. The airline purchased $2 billion of its in own shares in July of 2016.
“We continue to invest in our employees, our customer experience and the growth of our business. Returning cash to our shareholders reflects the strength of our balance sheet and the confidence we have in our future,” said Andrew Levy, executive vice president and chief financial officer of United Airlines.
United’s lagged behind rivals American and Delta in terms of profit margin, and its shares have fallen 11% so far in 2017. American Airlines shares have risen 11% in the same time and Delta’s 9%.
Olson came on after United CEO Jeff Smisek, resigned following a corruption scandal involving New York and New Jersey’s Port Authority. Smisek was succeeded by Oscar Munoz, whose comments immediately following Dr. Dao being dragged off a United aircraft were widely condemned in the press and on social media. That debacle came after Leggingsgate, which had the airline defending its dress code. Olson’s time was also characterized by a battle in United’s boardroom that had hedge funds competing over control of the company.
United said it’s currently looking for a replacement for Olson.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.