United’s senior vice president of worldwide sales has gone missing, the airline confirmed on Friday as a massive search operation gets underway near his home in Illinois. Jake Cefolia, 49, was reported missing nearly a week ago on August 8 and hasn’t been seen since. His car has been found at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in DuPage County, Illinois.
Local media report that at least 100 volunteers, along with K9 units are currently searching for Cefolia in the 2,492-acre preserve.
The high-ranking executive has been with United since 2007 and was named the head of worldwide sales in 2018. He leads a team of 25 sales professionals who manage sales programs, services, relationships and revenue with corporations, travel management companies and distributors around the world.
He previously worked at Northwest Airlines for eight years and started his aviation career with British Airways as an account manager between 1996 to 1999.
In a statement, United confirmed Cefolia’s unexpected disappearance, saying:
“Our friend and colleague, Jake Cefolia, SVP of Worldwide Sales, was last seen Thursday evening, August 6th. We’re concerned about his well-being and have been in touch with Jake’s family over the last couple of days to offer them our support.”
“At the request of the family, we won’t be releasing any additional details at this time,” the statement continued.
“We have also been in touch with law enforcement and expressed our desire to do everything we can to help them as they lead the effort to find Jake. If you have any information that could be helpful in locating Jake, please contact the Elmhurst Police Department at (630) 530-3050. We ask everyone to respect the family’s desire for privacy.”
Chief David Peterson, with the Forest Preserve District, described Cefolia as athletic and said he was a frequent runner. As the search got underway, Peterson conceded that it wasn’t known whether Cefolia was still in the preserve but that there had been no contact with friends of family since he went missing on August 6.
The investigation is being managed by the Elmhurst Police Department who can be contacted here.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.