Southwest Airlines Announces Executive Changes

Southwest Airlines today
announced that its Vice Chairman of the Board and CEO, James F. Parker,
had, for personal reasons, retired effective today as CEO of Southwest and
as a member of the Southwest Board of Directors. Herb Kelleher, Chairman of the Southwest Airlines Board, stated that Jim
Parker’s decision was accepted by the Board with both deep regret and
profound gratitude to Jim for his many significant contributions to the
success of Southwest and the wellbeing of its People over the course of
the last 18 years: “Our entire Board salutes Jim for his myriad
accomplishments and for being an outstanding individual,” Kelleher said.
“We will all greatly miss him.”

Kelleher also announced that Gary Kelly, 49, had been selected by the
Board of Directors to succeed Parker as Vice Chairman of the Board and
CEO, as well as a member of the Board of Directors. Kelly has served as
Southwest’s Executive Vice President and CFO since 2001, and joined
Southwest as its Controller in 1986, becoming Vice President Finance and
CFO in 1989.

Kelleher said: “Gary Kelly is one of our brightest stars, well respected
throughout the industry and well known, over more than a decade, to the
media, analyst, and investor communities for his excellence. As part of
our Board’s succession planning, we had already focused on Gary as Jim
Parker’s successor, and that process has simply been accelerated by Jim’s
personal decision to retire. Under Gary’s leadership, Southwest has
achieved the strongest balance sheet in the American airline industry; the
best fuel hedging position in our industry; and tremendous progress in
technology.”

Kelleher further announced that Laura Wright, currently Vice President
Finance and Treasurer, would succeed Gary Kelly as Southwest’s CFO. Laura
joined Southwest in 1988 and since 1998 has been primarily responsible for
Southwest’s overall corporate finance strategy; its capital market and
aircraft financing activities; new and used aircraft acquisitions;
corporate tax and insurance programs; cash management and investing
functions; and stock option programs.

Kelleher stated: “Laura Wright is another shining star, who is also
respected throughout our industry and well known to the analyst, investor,
and vendor communities for her acumen and business judgment. We are indeed
fortunate to have such an experienced and truly talented successor to Gary
Kelly as our CFO.”

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Kelleher closed by emphasizing that Gary Kelly and Laura Wright take on
their additional responsibilities with many years of experience at
Southwest and that each has been responsible for major project
development, planning, and implementation; each has served on (or chaired)
major committees throughout their respective tenures with the Company;
each has had significant budget and People leadership responsibilities;
each has made major contributions 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,
“Although I personally regret Jim Parker’s decision to retire, I am also
exceedingly pleased that Southwest has the demonstrated depth of
management talent and leadership capability that will enable our
Shareholders, Employees, and Customers to continue to be proud to be a
part of the ongoing Southwest Airlines story of success through Legendary
Customer Service.”
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