United Continental Holdings CEO Oscar Munoz will return to work in the first quarter of 2016, he said Thursday. Munoz suffered a heart attack three weeks ago.
Following his hospitalization, there was some uncertainty about the top leadership role at United.
The company has since appointed General Counsel Brett Hart as acting CEO and said its board had been preparing for “all potential outcomes.”
“I am on the road to recovery,” Munoz said in a statement. “My time away will be a little longer than I would like, but based upon discussion with my doctors I will be back in the first quarter.”
Munoz took over as CEO in September and quickly began traveling all over the country to boost morale at the company after his predecessor Jeff Smisek resigned because of probes into United’s relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Hart has promised to continue Munoz’s agenda. However, S&P Capital IQ cut its rating on the company’s stock to “Buy” from “Strong Buy” because it believes Hart has only limited experience in finance, operations or customer service.
Despite concerns, Hart has helped the company put forward a tentative deal for maintenance workers, paving the way for the first contract covering technicians from both United and Continental since the airlines merged in 2010.
The Chicago-based United still has a long way to go. United Airlines has the worst customer satisfaction among carriers other than Frontier.
No further details about United CEO’s return have been shared at this time.