A Hispanic entrepreneur with humble beginnings has taken the helm as CEO of United Airlines after the head of the airline company was forced to resign on Tuesday.
Oscar Muñoz, a railroad executive and head of United’s audit committee, is a trailblazing executive who has twice been named as “100 Most Influential Hispanics” by Hispanic Business magazine.
The California native is the oldest of nine children and has said that he pushed for all siblings to attend and graduate college. Muñoz graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and he received a master’s in business administration from Pepperdine University.
“I am a first-generation college graduate, and I’m proud to say that most of my other siblings have college degrees as well,” he told the Hispanic Executive in 2012. “Our parents taught us to work hard and never forget our family roots, where we came from, and how much effort it took to get to where we are today.”
Muñoz, 56, has served as president and chief operating officer of CSX Corp. since February and as a CSX executive since 2003. He joined the United Continental board in 2010. He has worked also worked at AT&T, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, where he told Hispanic Executive that he “engineered successful turnarounds. He has also been involved in a number of philanthropic organizations, including the the American Cancer Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Muñoz said United Airlines had an “incredible opportunity” to increase earnings and improve the flying experience. The flight attendants’ union cheered the change in CEOs, saying that labor relations had languished under Smisek. The chairman of United’s pilot union called the shake-up a…..
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