Southwest Airlines CEO to step down

Southwest Airlines CEO to step down
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Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly will step down from his position next year, the company announced on Wednesday.

The airline said in a statement that Kelly will transition from his role in early 2022. He will serve as the company’s executive chairman through at least 2026.

Taking Kelly’s place as CEO will be Robert Jordan, a long-time Southwest executive who is currently executive vice president of corporate services. Jordan will begin his new role on Feb. 1, 2022.

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“Bob and I have worked side by side for more than 30 years. He is a gifted and experienced executive and well-prepared to take on this important role," Kelly said in a statement.

Kelly, who’s been with the company for 35 years, was first promoted to CEO and vice chairman in 2004. He assumed the role of chairman and president in 2008, but relinquished the title of president in 2017.

During his time on the job, he guided the airway through multiple milestones, such as the airway’s acquisition of AirTrain Airways, the launch of international destinations and the introduction of the Boeing 737 Max 8 to the airline’s fleet.

He also led the company through the repeal of the Wright Amendment — which was a federal law that restricted flights from Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas, to protect Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport until 2014.

The bill was sponsored by former Rep. Jim Wright (D-Texas), who passed away at age 92 in May 2015.