CHICAGO, Sept. 8 (UPI) — Three high-ranking officials at United Airlines, including chief executive Jeff Smisek, submitted their resignations Tuesday — perhaps over a federal investigation that’s trying to determine if the carrier acted illegally by maintaining a route from South Carolina to New Jersey.
The Chicago-based airline announced the resignations Tuesday, marking a shakeup at the world’s third-largest airline.
Oscar Munoz, a member of the carrier’s board of directors, was named to replace Smisek as president and CEO.
“Munoz brings to this role deep and broad experience in the transportation industry and large consumer brands including AT&T, Pepsico and The Coca-Cola Company. He most recently served as president and chief operating officer of CSX Corporation,” United said in a news release.
The other two executives who resigned were United’s executive vice president of communications, Nene Foxhall — and government affairs and senior vice president of corporate and government affairs, Mark R. Anderson.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating United over a defunct route that used to fly from Columbia, S.C., and Newark, N.J. — a flight that officials believe was not profitable.
Investigators suspect the route may have existed to serve David Samson, the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — which operates Newark-Liberty International Airport. At the time the route was created, the airline was planning major changes at the airport, a United hub.
Samson purportedly owned a vacation home in South Carolina.
Just days after Samson left the Port Authority last year, United canceled the route.
United said the three officials’ resignations were effective immediately.