The United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) board of directors has named Brett J. Hart, currently United’s executive vice president and general counsel, as acting CEO with immediate effect.

According to United’s press release, the change was made after the firm’s president and CEO, Oscar Munoz, suffered from a heart attack on Oct. 15, 2015. Munoz is currently on medical leave.

In Munoz’s absence, Hart will work closely with Henry L. Meyer III, non-executive chairman of the board, and United’s experienced executive team to run the company.

Meyer commented, “Brett has taken on increasing responsibility beyond general counsel over the last few years in the operations and customer facing areas of the company. I am confident in his ability to continue to implement the company’s strategy and Oscar’s mission of bringing United’s people together around the shared purpose of becoming the best airline for our customers and employees.”

Other than serving as United’s general counsel, Hart’s responsibilities included government and regulatory affairs, corporate real estate, customer experience, corporate security, community affairs, contact centers and food services.

Before joining United in 2010, Hart was the executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Sara Lee, partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, and special assistant to the general counsel at the U.S. Department of Treasury.

“Oscar’s agenda is focused on customer service, teamwork and innovation and I, along with the executive team, will continue to move quickly to implement it,” said Hart. “We believe strongly that we can continue to make steady progress on increasing shareholder value by working together to deliver a great product to our customers.”

The press release noted that United’s board of directors is remaining actively engaged in preparing for all potential outcomes regarding the company’s leadership structure.

Image: Shutterstock

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