United CEO Jeff Smisek and two other top executives resigned as the New Jersey U.S. attorney’s office continues its probe into corruption allegations.
United Airlines’ top executive stepped down Tuesday amid ongoing federal and internal corruption investigations into the company’s ties to a former Port Authority chairman.
United CEO Jeff Smisek and two other top executives resigned as the New Jersey U.S. attorney’s office continues its probe into whether the airline provided special nonstop flights, known as the “chairman’s flight,” for former Port Authority Chairman David Samson in exchange for fee reductions and other benefits at Newark Airport.
Smisek got a hefty payoff — $4,875,000 in severance.
“The departures announced today are in connection with the company’s previously disclosed internal investigation related to the federal investigation associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,” United said in a statement.
Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News
The airline is accused of providing nonstop flights, known as the ‘chairman’s flight,’ for former Port Authority Chairman David Samson in exchange for fee reductions and other benefits at Newark Airport.
A filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission described the terms of Smisek’s generous separation agreement.
In addition to the severance, the 61-year-old will remain eligible for a pro-rated bonus. Smisek will have health insurance until he is eligible for Medicare, and maintain flight benefits and parking privileges for life. He also gets to keep his company car.
United named Oscar Munoz, the chief operating officer of railroad operator CSX Corp., as Smisek’s replacement.
Smisek got $4,875,000 in severance.
The shakeup at Newark Airport’s largest carrier renewed the long-simmering controversy surrounding the relationship between airline and Port Authority officials.
United disclosed earlier this year that the company and some of its executives had received subpoenas from a federal grand jury for information about its dealings with the agency. The company said it was conducting its own internal investigation.
Samson, appointed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2010, stepped down in March 2014 when records showed that several senior Christie aides worked with Port Authority officials to shut down traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge.
With News Wire Services
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