United CEO Says Board Was Too Isolated to See Airline’s Slide

United Airlines’ board was too isolated in recent years, allowing the carrier to fall behind rivals since its 2010 merger, said Chief Executive Oscar Munoz, who shouldered some of the responsibility himself.
“As board members, we only meet infrequently and are not as engaged with the front line, necessarily,” he said at the airline’s annual meeting Wednesday in Chicago. “The first thing I did as CEO was I left this board room” and visited employees at United, the No. 3 U.S. airline by traffic last year. While directors don’t meet often, they carry “some of the blame” for not being more observant, said Munoz, who was named CEO in September. Better operational insight might have prompted the board to insist on fixing a buggy reservations system that resulted in grounded flights or to solve technical issues that prevented employees from being paid on time.

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