Munoz recognized for changing the conversation about United as he leads improvement in the airline’s performance, customer satisfaction and employee engagement
CHICAGO, IL, March 17, 2017 – At its annual awards gala in New York last night, PRWeek, the world’s leading public relations and communications publication, presented United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz with its coveted Communicator of the Year award for his efforts over the past year to better engage with employees and customers as he led a dramatic transformation at the airline, all while recovering from a near-fatal heart attack and subsequent heart transplant.
Each year, PRWeek nominates a figure outside the public relations field who has demonstrated outstanding communication skills, oftentimes amidst difficult circumstances. Since taking the reins of United in late-2015, Munoz’s communication strategy has been based, in part, on speaking openly and honestly about improving the airline while inviting customers and employees to contribute their ideas on how the company could better serve them. So far the results have confirmed that he’s on the right track: through the end of 2016, United boasted record-breaking on-time performance and has seen its customer satisfaction scores climb.
Munoz has repeatedly referred to United as a “people business,” and his strategy from day one has been to reconnect with employees and customers. That philosophy was best summed up in his remarks when accepting the award on behalf of United’s more than 87,000 employees, saying, “Communication and communication strategy is not just part of the game, it is the game.”
In an article published last week, PRWeek detailed its reasons for selecting him: “Munoz has shown himself to be a smart, dedicated, and excellent leader who understands the value of communications. His ability to connect and share with employees his vision for the airline, and get them to rally behind it, is a key reason PRWeek named him 2017 Communicator of the Year.”
In years past, PRWeek has recognized global communications and thought leaders such as Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani women’s education activist, Pete Frates, the former Boston College baseball star who created the popular “Ice Bucket Challenge” after being diagnosed with ALS, Edie Windsor, the influential LGBT rights advocate, and Clementa Pinckney, the late South Carolina senator and pastor who was killed in the 2015 Charleston church shooting.
United Airlines and United Express operate more than 4,500 flights a day to 339 airports across five continents. In 2016, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 143 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 737 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express partners operate 483 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.