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In September 2015, United’s former CEO, Jeff Smisek, stepped down. Smisek had been involved in a scandal with the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where they had essentially scheduled a flight as a bribe in exchange for favorable terms for the airline. While that was the reason Smisek ultimately stepped down, most employees and customers would agree that this was long overdue.
United under Smisek’s leadership was toxic. The merger between Continental and United had just been completed, employee morale was low, and the airline was trailing competitors with several important metrics.
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