After activist hedge funds nominated potential directors for United Continental's board earlier this week, the founder of one of the firms says that move is intended to help its CEO, Oscar Munoz, not hinder him.
"First and foremost, let me say we have tremendous admiration for Oscar. ... We are supportive of Oscar," Brad Gerstner, CEO and founder of Altimeter, told CNBC's "Halftime Report" on Thursday.
"Our first response is not to launch an activist campaign. Some people have called us 'reluctavists,' " he added.
Altimeter and PAR Capital, which have a collective 7.1 percent stake, announced earlier this month that they would be nominating six director candidates to the board. The firms have previously described United's response to shareholder discontent as "knee-jerk," referencing how the airline tapped three new board members and expanded the size of the board after Altimeter and PAR announced their campaign.
"We came to this after talking with the board, expressing our disappointment and really encouraging them to embrace the change that was needed to set this company on the right track. It was only after that we concluded that that wasn't going to happen that we announced our slate," Gerstner said.