(Reuters) - United Continental Holdings Inc <UAL.N> has hired the No. 2 executive at rival American Airlines Group Inc <AAL.O>, Scott Kirby, to be its president, the companies said on Monday.
The move, effective immediately, is the latest attempt by United's reshuffled board and new Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz to shape a new strategy and boost the airline's stock price. United has lagged other U.S. carriers in on-time arrivals and profit margins, though its results have recently improved.
American's Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom will replace Kirby as that company's president, American said in a news release.
"United got themselves a star player. There's no question about it," said travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt.
Earlier this month, United appointed a new chief financial officer and new chief commercial officer, each with airline industry expertise. The company came under pressure from activist investors in the spring to name airline veterans to its board of directors who could guide Munoz, a former railroad executive who took the helm of United in September 2015.
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru and Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Tom Brown)