United Airlines: Jeff Smisek (CEO)
Why this was a big quit:
In 1995 Jeff left his law firm to join the turbulent airline industry. Jeff Smisek began his journey as general counsel of Continental in 2010 and piloted the mega-merger with United to be. Smisek said he was drawn in by the excitement and that “being in the airline business is so much cooler than being a partner in a law firm.” At the time of the merger, Fortune magazine dubbed Smisek, “King of the Skies.”
Why this is not as big as the top 10:
Unfortunately for Smisek, his reign as CEO was grounded by labor woes, technology issues, and poor customer service. The cabin door of his tenure closed amidst federal investigations into allegedly trading plane routes with government officials for regulatory favors. With the investigations and underwhelming merger of United surrounding Smisek, his departure was on time.