Southwest Airlines Announces Succession Transition Plan: Parker to Become Vice Chairman and CEO; Barrett to Become President and Chief Operating Officer; and Kelleher to Continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Of The Executive Committee of the

Herb Kelleher, chairman, president, and CEO, today announced that, pursuant to a succession transition plan formulated by the Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) board of directors over the last several years, on June l9, 200l (the day after Southwest officially celebrates its 30th anniversary of air service), James F. Parker, 54, will become vice chairman of the Southwest board of directors and CEO and Colleen C. Barrett, 56, will become president and chief operating officer of Southwest. Mr. Parker and Ms. Barrett also will join the Southwest board of directors on June l9, 200l.

Mr. Kelleher also stated that, under his new three year (200l-03) employment contract with Southwest, he will continue as chairman of the board of directors and chairman of the executive committee of the board of Southwest, with continuing responsibility for the consideration and effectuation of board policies; longer range strategic planning; governmental affairs; and, from the marketing standpoint, schedule planning.

"Succession planning has been a major priority at Southwest for quite some time," said Kelleher, 70, "and the Board has been fortunate enough to identify several outstanding performers over the last few years -- performers who will, we believe, be able to successfully lead Southwest through the constantly changing challenges that the airline industry will undoubtedly face over the next decade or more. The Board and I have spent a considerable amount of time considering the necessary skills that will be needed as we move into our company's thirty-first year of operation, and we think we have come up with a winning combination of talent for our company reorganization which will become effective on June l9, 200l."

"James F. Parker, the Company's current VP-general counsel, will be an excellent vice chairman of the board and company CEO," Kelleher added. "Jim has been with Southwest since l986, and he has been a key executive planning committee member, as well as a leader of, and significant contributor to, our collective bargaining and other contract negotiations; our properties and facilities team; our technical services team; our legal team; and our many vendor and partner alliances. I have personally worked with Jim since l979, and, in terms of acumen, dedication, and altruism, I cannot think of anyone better suited to hold these two positions."

Kelleher went on to say: "Colleen C. Barrett, the Company's current EVP- customers and corporate secretary, will become the Company's president and chief operating officer. Colleen, who participated in our many legal and legislative battles over starting Southwest, has been directly employed by Southwest since l978 and has held numerous positions since that time, including being a member of our executive planning committee since its inception. She deserves much of the credit for Southwest's strong Customer Service record and recognition as well for the Company's often praised culture. Colleen has been my business associate since l967, and she has broad experience in all aspects of our business. I am delighted that she will hold the company's first chief operating officer position because she has earned the right to do so."

Kelleher stated that the president and chief operating officer; the VP revenue management; and the EVP and CFO (as to finance and fuel) will report directly to Parker. Parker will also directly supervise all labor negotiations and he will have ultimate responsibility for pricing decisions. He also stated that the EVP-customers; EVP-chief of operations; and EVP-CFO (as to systems, purchasing, and technical services) will report directly to Barrett. Barrett will also have supervisory responsibility for the corporate communications; general counsel; internal audit/special projects; and marketing departments.

Kelleher also announced that Gary Kelly, 46, currently VP finance and CFO, will become the company's EVP and CFO on June l9, 200l. Kelly joined the company in l986 as its controller and has served the company in various roles since that time. Kelleher said: "Gary is well respected throughout the industry and he is well known to the media and to the analyst and investor communities. It is a pleasure to recognize his many very distinguished contributions to the company through his promotion, which comes about as a result of our current EVP-corporate services, John Denison, having announced last December that he would be retiring in June of this year. Though we will all miss John Denison and his signal contributions to Southwest's success, and esprit de corps, he has been selflessly grooming Gary Kelly for this next step in his career." Kelly will retain the CFO title and he will have prime responsibility for the finance; fuel; systems; purchasing; and technical services groups.

Kelleher further announced that Jim Wimberly, 48, the company's high performing and very able EVP-chief of operations, will continue in that role with primary responsibility for the maintenance; ground operations; flight operations; and schedule planning (as to operational aspects) departments, and he will also take on additional supervisory responsibility for properties and facilities.

Jim Parker announced that, when his new role becomes effective, Debby Ackerman, 50, currently associate general counsel, will become the company's VP-general counsel. He stated: "Debby has been a superb contributor to Southwest Airlines since she joined us in l988, and she has proven her legal abilities and business acumen time and time again. She will be an exemplary corporate officer and I am looking forward to having her on my team. Debby will be responsible for the legal, environmental, safety, and corporate security groups."

Parker continued with the announcement that Bob Montgomery, 44, currently senior director properties and facilities, will become VP-properties and facilities effective June l9, 200l. Parker said: "Bob is typical of the American dream story -- he started with us in l977 as a Ramp Agent, and he has held numerous positions with our company since that time. He is well known and respected throughout the industry for his properties and facilities expertise and this is a well-deserved promotion for Bob that is probably long overdue. In his new capacity, he will be reporting to the EVP-chief of operations."

Colleen Barrett stated that her successor as EVP-customers will be Donna Conover, 48, who is another remarkable success story at Southwest. Barrett said: "Donna started with us as a Reservations Agent in l977; she has held numerous line, training, and management positions since that time, and she has worked in three different departments at Southwest Airlines. She is an exemplary servant leader; has a marvelous Customer Service orientation; and understands all operational inner workings and nuances. I have worked very closely with Donna for many years, and, while she would qualify for many positions at our company, I am delighted that she will be taking the EVP- customers role. In Donna's new capacity, she will be responsible for the people (human resources); customer relations and rapid rewards (frequent flyer); reservations; and inflight/provisioning departments. She will also become a member of the executive planning committee."

Barrett continued that Joyce Rogge, 44, currently VP marketing, will be promoted in June to senior VP marketing and she will be primarily responsible for the following areas: marketing; advertising; sales; promotions; and the pass bureau. In addition, she will have two VPs reporting to her: VP special marketing and VP-interactive marketing. Barrett said: "I personally hired Joyce in l988 and her enthusiastic, energetic, and successful performance since then has made me very proud of my selection. She has blossomed into a key leader at Southwest Airlines as a member of our executive planning committee and she has the admiration of her peers and her supervisors. It is very exciting for me that Joyce will hold our first senior VP role, and I am looking forward to my continued excellent working and personal relationship with her."

Kelleher opined that he felt the combination of the restructured senior management team of chairman; vice chairman and CEO; president and chief operating officer; and three EVPs will continue to lead the airline industry in setting records for profitability and profitsharing; job security; customer service; and in giving all Americans the Freedom to Fly by offering low fare, high frequency, point to point airline service, provided by 30,000 of the most hardworking, good humored, fun, spirited, dedicated, and terrific Employees in the world.

Kelleher closed by emphasizing that each of the people being given additional responsibilities at Southwest has been with the company at least l3 years. Each has been responsible for major project development, planning, and implementation at Southwest; each has served on (or chaired) major committees throughout their respective tenures with the company; each has had significant budget responsibilities; each has contributed to the evolving philosophies and strategies of the company; and each subscribes to the company's mission statement as well as to its longheld core values. Kelleher stated: "I firmly believe that the June l9, 200l changes will enable our Shareholders, Employees, and Customers to continue to be proud to be part of the ongoing Southwest Airlines success story. I personally look forward to continuing to work with the evergrowing, diverse, dynamic, altruistic, fun, spirited, and servant leader team at Southwest Airlines."
SOURCE Southwest Airlines
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