United Airlines Holdings' CEO To Step Down

United Airlines Holdings' CEO Oscar Munoz To Step Down

United Airlines announced Thursday that CEO Oscar Munoz will turn over day-to-day management of the airline next spring to President Scott Kirby, who will become company’s chief executive officer.

The change happens in May, when Munoz becomes executive chairman, succeeding Jane Garvey, 75, who is retiring from the board.

The announcement helped boost United’s premarket share price by 1%. The move ends speculation Kirby could be hired to replace Doug Parker as CEO of American Airlines, where shares are down 26% in the last year. Kirby was Parker’s top lieutenant for a decade as Parker merged America West with U.S. Air and later merged U.S. Air with American, creating the nation’s largest airline.

“With United in a stronger position than ever, now is the right time to begin the process of turning over the baton to a new leader,” Munoz said in Thursday’s announcement.

The move is one many in the airline industry and on Wall Street have anticipated for some time. Kirby, who was hired by Munoz in 2016 with a mandate to improve the airline’s execution, has been a driving force in improving United’s performance and profit growth during the last two years.

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