Southwest Airlines Appoints Lauren Woods to Senior Vice President Technology and Chief Information Officer

Media Release

DALLASSouthwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today announced the promotion of Lauren Woods from Vice President of Technology to Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, and she will report to Chief Administration & Communications Officer Linda Rutherford.

Since joining Southwest® in 2010, Woods has led key initiatives across Southwest's Technology Department, supporting the Company's Digital and Customer Channels and various Operations Teams and Platforms. She established cloud infrastructure, creating a new development and delivery platform for complex application ecosystems. In her new role, Woods will play an important role in managing the airline's technology investments, upgrades and system maintenance totaling approximately $1.3 billion in 2023, alone. She is also heavily focused on the transformation of Southwest's enterprise data platforms that drive the Company's data science, analytics, optimization and system integrations. Woods graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management & Marketing.

Woods assumes this role following Kathleen Merrill's decision in September 2022 to move to an Executive Advisor in early 2023. Merrill was instrumental in creating the Strategic Planning and Implementation Department, rolling out a new Rapid Rewards system, integrating Air Tran into Southwest and beginning to fly internationally, upgrading technology platforms from Sabre to Amadeus, and the Company's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I first want to thank Kathleen for her many and immeasurable contributions to Southwest Airlines for nearly 19 years, overseeing some of the industry's largest and most historic technology projects. We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for the many positive ways Kathleen contributed to Southwest's reputation as one of the most celebrated companies and we are grateful she will continue serving Southwest in her new role," said Southwest Airlines President & CEO Bob Jordan. "Lauren's vast experience has prepared her well for this important role, as she's built a stellar reputation for being an innovative and transformational Leader in our Technology Department and throughout the Company."

Southwest Airlines Co. operates one of the world's most admired and awarded airlines, offering its one-of-a-kind value and Hospitality at 121 airports across 11 countries. Having celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2021, Southwest took flight in 1971 to democratize the sky through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel and now carries more air travelers flying nonstop within the United States than any other airline1. Based in Dallas and famous for an Employee-first corporate Culture, Southwest maintains an unprecedented record of no involuntary furloughs or layoffs in its history. By empowering its more than 64,0002 People to deliver unparalleled Hospitality, the maverick airline cherishes a passionate loyalty among as many as 130 million Customers carried a year. That formula for success brought industry-leading prosperity and 47 consecutive years3 of profitability for Southwest Shareholders (NYSE: LUV). Southwest leverages a unique legacy and mission to serve communities around the world including harnessing the power of its People and Purpose to put communities at the Heart of its success. Learn more by visiting Southwest is also continuing to develop tangible steps toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, including offering Customers an opportunity to help the airline offset its carbon emissions. To be part of the solution, visit

  1. U.S. Dept. of Transportation most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded    
  2. Fulltime-equivalent active Employees     
  3. 1973-2019 annual profitability    

Media Contacts: 
Visit the Southwest Newsroom at for multimedia assets and other Company news. 

Media Relations Team: (214) 792-4847, option 1 

# # #

Stay Connected

For Journalists Seeking
Answers to Questions

Phone 214-792-4847, Opt. 1


Additional Contacts