Jeff Smisek, who stepped down due to ongoing federal investigations into his dealings with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, will be replaced by the chief executive officer of CSX Corporation.
Jeff Smisek has resigned as chairman, president, chief executive officer and director United Continental Holdings, Inc. The airline said in a statement the departure was “in connection with the company’s previously disclosed internal investigation related to the federal investigation associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The investigations are ongoing and the company continues to cooperate with the government.”
Oscar Munoz, president and chief operating officer of the railroad CSX, will replace Smisek as chief executive officer and president of United Continental. Munoz will also continue to serve on United’s board of directors.
According to a report from NJBIZ, federal and internal probes into United’s dealings with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stem from concerns about a flight route tied to the personal travel of the agency’s embattled former chairman, David Samson.
“The route in question, launched in September 2012, was between Newark and an airport near Samson’s home in South Carolina. United then dropped the route in March 2014, three days after Samson, a longtime New Jersey attorney and influential political player, resigned in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal tied to the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September 2013,” NJBIZ said. “The route became infamously known as ‘the chairman’s flight’ after news of the federal investigation was broken in February by The Record. The newspaper at the time cited federal aviation records, which showed that during the 19 months United offered the nonstop service, the 50-seat planes that flew the route were, on average, only about half full.”
United also announced that its executive vice president of communications and government affairs and its senior vice president of corporate and government affairs have stepped down.
CSX also announced a raft of management changes in the wake of Munoz’s departure:
- Clarence W. Gooden was appointed President, overseeing both
Operations and Sales and Marketing, from his previous position as
Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.
- Fredrik J. Eliasson was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief
Sales and Marketing Officer from his previous position as Executive
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
- Cindy M. Sanborn was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief
Operating Officer of CSX Transportation, Inc., from her prior position
as Executive Vice President-Operations.
- Frank A. Lonegro was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer from his previous position as Vice President-Service