Everything you need to know about United’s interim CEO, Alpha Phi Alpha Frater Brett Hart
United Continental Holdings has named Brett J. Hart as acting chief executive following a heart attack United CEO Oscar Munoz suffered last week. Here’s his resume in a nutshell:
Formerly general counsel and executive vice president Hart was responsible for a number of areas before the appointment, United said in a statement Monday. Those included government and regulatory affairs, corporate real estate, customer experience, corporate security, community affairs, contact centers and food services. Hart joined United in 2010.
Prior to United, Hart worked for Sara Lee, the defunct food and beverage corporation that split into two companies in 2012: Hillshire Brands (the North American segment) and D.E Master Blenders (the international one). Hart joined that company in 2003 as assistant general counsel.
Two years later, Sara Lee promoted Hart to senior vice president, deputy general counsel, and global business practices officer, where he led the company’s global business practices and governance activities, including SEC transactions, shareholder services, employee benefits and immigration employment law. He also acted as a liaison between the board and executives. In 2009, Hart got another promotion, becoming the company’s executive vice president and general counsel—the same title he would assume at United a year later.
“Brett has taken on increasing responsibility beyond general counsel over the last few years in the operations and customer facing areas of the company,” Henry L. Meyer III, United’s non-executive chairman of the board, said in a statement. “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.”
Before Sara Lee, Hart was a partner at the law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, which dissolved in 2010. Before that, he served as special assistant to the general counsel at the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor of arts in philosophy and English, and later graduated from the University of Chicago Law School with a juris doctorate degree.
Hart, 46, will take the reins of the second largest airline in the U.S. by traffic while Munoz remains on indefinite medical leave. The transition comes less than two months after Munoz took over as CEO for Jeff Smisek, who resigned in September amid a federal investigation that involved the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s chairman David Samson.
Hart, who is married and has three sons, said that he will pick up where Munoz left off. “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,” he said in a statement.