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Bob Jordan to replace longtime CEO of Southwest Airlines Gary Kelly in 2022

Bob Jordan
Posted at 12:11 PM, Jun 23, 2021

Southwest Airlines is getting a new CEO in 2022.

The company announced Wednesday that its current CEO, Gary Kelly, will transition roles early in the year, becoming executive chairman.

Kelly has served as CEO of Southwest since 2004. He has spent 35 years with the company, beginning as a controller. He then moved his way up the corporate ladder.

Robert Jordan, who currently serves as the company’s executive vice president of corporate services, will become the new CEO on Feb. 1, 2022, according to the airline.

"On behalf of the Southwest Airlines Board of Directors, I am delighted to announce Bob Jordan as CEO," Kelly said in a statement. "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. Working closely with President Tom Nealon and Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven, we will begin developing transition plans in the coming weeks and months. These three top-notch Leaders make for a powerful team to lead us forward."

Jordan is a longtime Southwest executive. The 60-year-old joined the airline in 1988 and has served in several roles within the company.

Prior to Southwest, he worked for Hewlett-Packard as a programmer and financial analyst. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A&M University.

"I'm humbled, honored, and excited to be asked to serve as the next CEO," Jordan said in a statement. "The Heart of Southwest is our People; they make the difference for our customers, and I look forward to serving them. We have a terrific team of Leaders, many of whom I have had the joy of working alongside for decades. I'm looking forward to working with Gary, Mike and Tom on the transition effort and setting up Southwest for the next 50 years of giving Customers the Freedom to Fly."