United CEO Has Heart Transplant 3 Months After Suffering Heart Attack

The company expects he will return to work within a few months.

The CEO of United Airlines has a new heart.

Oscar Munoz underwent heart transplant surgery Wednesday and is in recovery, according to the company. 

While a transplant is generally a last resort when other treatments for heart disease no longer work, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, United downplayed concerns. 

In a statement, the company said, "A transplant was considered the preferred treatment and was not the result of a setback in his recovery."

Munoz was appointed CEO in September, just over a month before a heart attack in mid-October forced him to temporarily step down from his daily duties.

A source told The Huffington Post at the time that Munoz was incredibly stressed in the weeks leading up to his heart attack. He was traveling frequently, trying to meet with as many of the beleaguered airline's employees and customers as he could over a three month period. As my colleague Emily Peck put it, "basically, the guy was flying around the country to get yelled at."

United also said the company expects Munoz to return to the helm "at the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter," meaning sometime in March or April. The recovery period for a transplant, according to the Library of Medicine, is about three to six months.