(Adds United response to Senate panel, background on Munoz and
NEW YORK, April 21 (Reuters) - United Continental Holdings
Inc said on Friday Chief Executive Oscar Munoz will not
become chairman in 2018, under an amendment to his employment
agreement approved after an uproar over the treatment of a
In a reversal of his earlier employment agreement, Munoz has
opted to leave "future determinations related to the Chairman
position to the discretion of the Board," United said in a U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The company also said it would revise its 2017 executive
compensation to more directly tie incentives to improvements in
customer satisfaction. In 2016, Munoz made $18.72 million.
"United's management and the Board take recent events
extremely seriously, and are in the process of developing
targeted compensation program design adjustments to ensure that
employees' incentive opportunities for 2017 are directly and
meaningfully tied to progress in improving the customer
experience," the filing said.
Earlier this month, a United passenger, Dr. David Dao, was
dragged from his seat off a parked plane at Chicago's O'Hare
International Airport bound for Louisville, Kentucky, to make
room for crew members.
The scene was captured on video by fellow passengers and
showed Dao bloodied and disheveled in the incident.
Dao's attorney said his 69-year-old client had incurred a
significant concussion, broken his nose and lost two front teeth
in the altercation with airport security, and said Dao would
likely sue the airline.
Munoz, a former railroad executive who took over United in
2015, had already been pressured by activist investors to
improve the airline's performance, including in customer
relations. In April 2016, United agreed with a group of
investors to install airline industry veteran Robert Milton as
In initial statements following the incident, Munoz and
United did not apologize to Dao for the way he had been treated,
instead describing him as "disruptive and belligerent."
Before being hauled from the flight, Dao, who emigrated from
Vietnam in the 1970s, repeatedly accused the airline of
discriminating against him for being ethnic Chinese, according
to fellow passenger Tyler Bridges who was traveling back home
The incident, and the company's response, sparked global
outrage. Social media users across the United States, Vietnam
and China called for a boycott of the carrier.
United said on Friday it had asked a U.S. Senate panel for
an extra week to answer detailed questions about the incident.
Munoz wrote that he was "personally committed to putting proof
behind our promise" in United's commitment to reforms.
Committee leaders said in a joint statement that getting
answers about what happened and how to prevent a recurrence was
a "priority" and any further delay was "unacceptable."
(Reporting by Alana Wise; Additional reporting by David
Shepardson; Editing by Richard Chang)