Comms execs Irene Foxhall, Mark Anderson depart United Continental amid probe

Their departures, along with that of United CEO Jeff Smisek, are in connection with a internal company investigation.

CHICAGO: United Continental EVP of communications and government affairs Irene Foxhall and SVP of corporate and government affairs Mark Anderson have left the company amid a federal probe into its relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The airline said on Tuesday that its EVP of comms and government affairs and its SVP of corporate and government affairs had exited the company, but did not identify the two executives by name. Reuters identified Anderson and Foxhall in a Tuesday evening story, citing a source familiar with the matter.

A representative from United was not immediately available for comment.

Their departures, along with that of United CEO Jeff Smisek, are in connection with United’s previously disclosed internal investigation related to a federal investigation associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The airline said the inquiries are ongoing, and the company is cooperating with the federal government.

Oscar Munoz, a United board member and former president and COO of CSX, is serving as the company’s CEO, effective immediately. Its board also appointed Henry Meyer, United’s lead independent director, to serve as non-executive chairman of the board of directors.

Foxhall joined United in 1995 and has held various positions at the company. Most recently, as EVP, she oversaw worldwide corporate communications, including PR, employee communications, corporate events, and creative services. She also was responsible for government affairs and community affairs for the airline, according to her profile page on the Arthur W. Page Society website.

Before joining United, Foxhall practiced law and spent two years as staff writer at The Dallas Morning News and 14 years at the Houston Chronicle, where she was a political editor, covering county government, and civil and criminal courts.

Anderson, meanwhile, started working at United in 1997. In his most recent role, he was based in Washington, DC, and Chicago, and oversaw United’s congressional, state, and local government relations, corporate social investment, and community affairs.

He spent 12 years in senior executive positions on Capitol Hill before joining United, according to a cached version of his profile page on United’s website, which is no longer live.

Last month, United CFO John Rainey left the company to take the same position at PayPal. He had been CFO at United since April 2012. Gerry Laderman was named acting chief financial officer.

The carrier opened an internal investigation into its relationship with David Samson, a former Port Authority chairman, following a government probe.

Media reports have stated that the investigation is focused on United’s alleged creation of a special flight between Newark, New Jersey, and an airport near Samson's home in South Carolina.

Samson is a New Jersey political figure who counseled Chris Christie's 2009 election campaign and headed Christie's gubernatorial transition team. Last March, Samson resigned from his Port Authority position amid a bridge closure scandal, also known as "Bridgegate," which involved the supposed closure of access lanes on the George Washington Bridge for political reasons.

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