United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) has made changes to its board and a settlement agreement with Altimeter Capital Management, LP and PAR Capital Management, Inc. under which two of their designees, Edward L. Shapiro, Managing Partner and portfolio manager at PAR, and Barney Harford, former Chief Executive Officer of Orbitz Worldwide, Inc., will immediately join the Board.
United will also add a mutually agreed independent director to the Board within six months. Altimeter has withdrawn its notice of intent to nominate directors at the 2016 Annual Meeting of Shareholders and agreed to certain “stand-still” provisions.
On March 6, 2016, three new independent directors joined the Board: James A.C. Kennedy, former President and Chief Executive Officer of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.; Robert A. Milton, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. and previously Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada; and James M. Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat, Inc., and previously Chief Operating Officer of Delta Air Lines, Inc. Milton and Whitehurst have a combined total of 30 years of airline experience.
Henry L. Meyer III, the current Non-Executive Chairman, and two other current directors, John H. Walker and Charles A. Yamarone, will be retiring and will not stand for re-election at the 2016 Annual Meeting. Accordingly, as of the 2016 Annual Meeting, seven of the Company´s 14 directors — and five of the 11 independent directors — will be new to the Board since March 1, 2016.
In light of Meyer´s impending retirement, United´s Board has elected Milton Non-Executive Chairman, effective immediately following the election of directors at the 2016 Annual Meeting. Oscar Munoz, United´s President and Chief Executive Officer, has decided to amend his employment agreement to defer from the 2017 Annual Meeting to the 2018 Annual Meeting the anticipated time at which he would assume the additional position of Chairman of the Board.
Robert Milton, 55, served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. from 2004 to 2012, and was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada from 1999 to 2004. He joined Air Canada in 1992 in a consulting capacity and progressed from the role of Senior Director of Scheduling to Vice President, Scheduling and Product Management, Senior Vice President, Marketing and In-Flight Service and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer before being named President and CEO in 1999.
Edward Shapiro, 51, is currently Managing Partner and portfolio manager at PAR Capital Management, Inc., a Boston-based investment management firm specializing in investments in travel, media and Internet-related companies. Prior to joining PAR Capital in 1997, Shapiro was a Vice President at Wellington Management Company, and before that an Analyst at Morgan Stanley & Co. Shapiro also serves as Chairman of the Boards of Global Eagle Entertainment (NASDAQ: ENT) and Lumexis Corporation, and a director of Sonifi Solutions.
Barney Harford, 44, served as Chief Executive Officer of Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. from 2009 to 2015, leading a successful turnaround that culminated in a sale to Expedia, Inc. in 2015. Previously, Harford served in multiple roles at Expedia from 1999 to 2006, including as President of Expedia Asia Pacific from 2004 to 2006, leading the company´s entry into China, Japan and Australia. Harford serves as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Lola, a chat-based travel planning service that offers customers personalized recommendations for hotels, flights and more.
The settlement agreement among United, Altimeter, and PAR will be filed shortly with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 342 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United Continental Holdings, Inc. common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.