United Airlines CEO Takes Situation from Bad to Worse

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in ComLead, Organizational Leadership

By this point, it is safe to say that almost everyone is aware of the United Airlines incident that occurred just over a week ago. If you are not familiar, type United Airlines passenger removal into your google search bar and you will find more videos and articles than you can wrap your head around. When an event like this occurs, we all sit and wait for the response of Company leadership. They can’t completely turn a situation around but they have the power to make a big impact on the way it is perceived by the public.

In this case, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz took a bad situation and made it worse. In his first issued statement on Monday April 10th he refers to the incident as an “upsetting event” and apologizes for “having to re-accommodate these customers.” It is no surprise that this was perceived as a terribly insensitive response to a pretty brutal situation. While outraged individuals took to social media to express their opinions, it only took Munoz a day to realize he made a mistake.

On Tuesday April 11th he issued a new and MUCH more apologetic statement, specifically referring to what happened and declaring his “deepest apologies.” While this statement was more sincere and remorseful it may be too little too late. For anyone teetering on the edge of understanding or forgiveness, the first statement by Munoz was enough to push them over and as many stated, they would no longer be giving their business to the company.

In order to show the world that United does in fact make decisions with empathy as stated on their website under their core values, Munoz should have issued his second statement first. We look to leaders to perpetuate the values of their companies. Employees look to leaders to determine the culture of a company and what is important. At this point if Munoz has any hope of redeeming his company he will need to find a way to prove that his company values more than just the customer’s money.





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