United Airlines CEO's 2017 pay halved; chairman to step down

Key Points
  • Munoz told employees he passed up a bonus to show "accountability."
  • His 2017 compensation was nearly half of his 2016 pay.
  • United Continental Holdings' chairman won't seek reelection.
Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The 2017 pay for the CEO of United Airlines was nearly half that of the year before, as the airline faced a number of public relations disasters, including the violent dragging of a passenger off one of its flights last April.

Oscar Munoz took home $9.56 million last year, nearly half of compensation in 2016, the company said in a filing on Monday. Munoz told employees that he suggested that the company's compensation committee not give him a bonus.

In the letter to employees, which was seen by CNBC, Munoz said: "I felt it was important to send a message about the culture of accountability and integrity that we are building here as a United team."

"We had some incredible successes in 2017, but also some setbacks," he said.

United Continental Holdings, the airline's parent, is set have a new chairman, as well. Current chairman, Robert Milton, the former CEO of Air Canada, will not seek reelection, the company said in the filing. Another board member, Laurence Simmons, is also not seeking reelection and the board will be reduced from 16 to 14 members.

The airline has faced numerous challenges since the dragging of passenger David Dao off a flight in April 2017 after he refused to deplane to make room for a commuting crew member. Several pets died aboard its planes, including a French bulldog puppy that had been placed in an overhead bin last month. The airline's aggressive expansion plan also spooked investors earlier this year.

But better-than-expected profits last week appeared to assuage some of those concerns. The company's stock is up more than 4 percent so far this year, compared with a more than 10 percent drop in American Airlines' share price and 2.5 percent drop in Delta Air Lines' stock.