Southwest Airlines Announces Senior Management Changes

 Herbert D. Kelleher, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Southwest Airlines, today announced the following senior management changes effective as specified:

  • Effective December 31, 1998, Gary A. Barron has elected to relinquish his position as executive vice president--chief operations officer. Barron, 53, will, however, remain an executive vice president of Southwest Airlines through at least December 31, 2000, with responsibilities primarily in the labor relations area.
  • James C. (Jim) Wimberly, formerly vice president--ground operations, will transition under Barron's direction for the remainder of this year, and on January 1, 1999, will replace Barron as executive vice president--chief operations officer. Flight operations; inflight services; maintenance; fuel management; and ground operations will report to Wimberly, 45, in his new position.
  • Dave Ridley has been named vice president--ground operations, effective May 1, 1998. Ridley, 45, was vice president--marketing and sales, and will now oversee the 8,000 Employees who work in cargo; customer service; and ramp and operations at the Company's 52 airport locations. He will also become a member of the Company's Executive Planning Committee.
  • Joyce C. Rogge will become vice president--marketing and the Company's sole marketing officer on May 1, 1998. Previously, Rogge, 40, was vice president--advertising and promotions, and shared responsibility for marketing and pricing with Ridley. In her new position, she will also oversee field marketing; product distribution; and the group and packages business.
  • Effective May 1, 1998, Donna D. Conover has been named vice president--inflight service and provisioning, replacing William Q. Miller, 54, who previously announced his retirement as head of inflight. Conover, 45, was director--system support for ground operations and will now oversee approximately 4,500 flight attendants as well as the aircraft provisioning function.

"These management changes are a manifestation of the abundant talent pool that exists at Southwest Airlines," Kelleher said. "For example, we are fortunate to have someone of Jim Wimberly's caliber ready to assume additional responsibilities. Jim has proven his leadership ability by directing our airport ground operations over a period of 13 years and through 548 percent growth during his tenure."

"We are also fortunate that Gary Barron's wisdom, counsel, and direction will continue to be of enormous value to Southwest," Kelleher said. "We have worked together for 27 years, and I am very pleased that our relationship will continue."

Wimberly joined Southwest in 1985 as vice president--ground operations and provisioning, when the Company operated in 25 airports versus 52 airports today. Prior to coming to Southwest Airlines, Wimberly was manager of William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. He graduated from the University of Texas at Permian Basin with a bachelor's degree in business administration and a minor in aviation management.

Ridley began his career at Southwest Airlines in 1988 in marketing and sales. Previously, Ridley worked in marketing and business development at Anderson Clayton Foods, ENSERCH Corporation, and Univest Development Corporation. He earned an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University and completed his undergraduate work at the University of Texas at Austin.

Rogge joined Southwest Airlines in 1988 in promotions and has been vice president--advertising and promotions since 1994. Previously, she was vice president, account services for Janklow Bender in New York. Rogge is a graduate of Southern Methodist University where she earned both her B.F.A. and M.B.A.

Conover began her career at Southwest Airlines in 1977 in reservations, including management and training positions, before joining ground operations. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines, Conover's field of study and career focused on criminal justice.

Miller, who plans to retire in May, is an original Employee who joined the start-up carrier in 1971 as a ticket agent. He also worked as a station manager and head of provisioning before being named vice president--inflight in 1984. In retirement, Miller currently has no specific plans beyond spending more time with his family.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), the fifth largest domestic carrier in terms of Customers boarded, currently serves 51 cities in 25 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 2,300 flights a day with a fleet of 264 Boeing 737s with an average age of 8.4 years--one of the youngest pure jet fleets in the domestic airline industry.

Media Please Call:
Public Relations
(214) 792-4847
Customers Please Call:
(800) I FLY SWA or
(800) 435-9792
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