Corporate leader. Trusted board member & advisor. Education supporter.
Former CEO & Executive Chairman, United Airlines
Oscar took the helm of a United that was flying through very turbulent skies, and was anything but United.
A stalled merger, dismal operational and financial performance, tortured labor relations and rock-bottom customer satisfaction and employee morale meant United was in freefall.
Within five years, United was flying high, achieving top-tier reliability and profits, winning back customer loyalty and earning the praise of each of its major union leaders. Most importantly, frontline employees were finally flying together as a team, after the turmoil of a merger that finally was ratified eight years to the day after it was begun.
Oscar credits his employees for pulling off the airline comeback story of all time, and it began with a Wall Street-defying strategy to put employees first, as the foundation of rebuilding.
Behind the scenes, another personal drama was unfolding. On Day 37 of his tenure, he suffered a massive heart attack. He woke from a coma only to fight for his job, fend off a proxy battle from activist investors, manage PR crises, all while learning the three-dimensional chess game that is required to obtain a heart transplant.
Today, Oscar remains beloved by the rank-and-file of United Airlines for his authenticity, faith in his employees, and for turning the company around by creating a New Spirit of United.