United Airlines CEO Received Shocking Award Just Weeks Ago

After failing to pacify many outraged viewers of viral video clips showing a United Airlines passenger being forcibly removed from a Sunday evening flight and dragged bleeding down the aisle to make space for an extra crew member, CEO Oscar Munoz finally conducted an interview Wednesday and gave a profuse apology for what happened.

Related story: United CEO Gives 1st Interview Since Flight Fiasco; Here’s What He’s Finally Admitting

Many people, along with business experts, have criticized Munoz’ sluggishness in apologizing and his poor handling of what has now become a PR nightmare for the company.

Ironically, Munoz received the “Communicator of the Year” award from PR Week magazine on March 9, proclaiming that, “Since taking on CEO duties in September 2015, Munoz has transformed the fortunes of the beleaguered airline, galvanized staff, and set the business on a smoother course — all in the context of a tremendously difficult time personally.”

Fox Business’ Stuart Varney grilled PRWeek editorial director Steve Barrett Wednesday to ask him why he gave Munoz that award and whether he’d give it to him now:

“20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing,” Barrett replied, but said Munoz really has done a lot of great things in the 18 months since he’s been in charge of United Airlines, especially after the rough departure of the previous CEO.

He noted the customer satisfaction and on-time arrivals have risen since Munoz took control.

But, Barrett said, “I think if we were awarding ‘Communicator of the Year’ now, clearly, we wouldn’t have given it to Oscar Munoz. And their response was not good. They finally came out yesterday with a proper apology that should have been out on Monday.”

Wednesday morning on “Good Morning America,” Munoz blamed systematic failures at United that led to this incident being handled the way it was, and he promised to fix the system.

Barrett agreed that systematic failures could be blamed.

But “clearly, that was a horrific, horrific optics for the company,” Barrett explained, “and he had do something more, faster, and in a much better style than they did.”

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