United CEO Oscar Munoz has turned down a lucrative bonus package, claiming it sends a message on accountability.
In a note to employees, Munoz said in part:
[Y]ou may hear that I did not receive a bonus for 2017. I suggested this to our Compensation Committee because 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. I’ve personally learned a lot from all of these experiences, and I am as determined as ever to achieve what we set out to do more than two years ago: delivering for our customers, our shareholders and you — our employees.
I’m optimistic that we can achieve that goal because of the incredible work you do every day. I’ve seen you put in the long hours and late nights, often far away from family and loved ones. I saw how you overcame all kinds of really tough challenges in 2017 to deliver our best year operationally, setting a record for on-time departures. That’s something you can all take great pride in. And it makes me feel incredibly proud and blessed to call myself a member of your team.
“Setbacks” is an understatement. The Dao and leggings incidents were serious PR disasters. Yet as Munoz notes, operational performance improved in 2017 so much that United set a record for on-time departures. On the whole, United is moving in the right direction.
In hearing FA feedback already, I can tell you many are rallying behind Munoz. Most front-line employees have supported him from the start and that support remains resilient, even after the lottery bonus scandal.
> Read More: The Encouraging Tenure Of United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz
Don’t worry, Munoz won’t starve. He still took home $9,561,134 in 2017. But turning down a lucrative bonus that the Board was willing to give him deserves praise. What will deserve even more praise is when we go for months without a negative PR story from United. Then we will know United learns from its mistakes.