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Who was CEO of Southwest Airlines before Gary Kelly?

Who was CEO of Southwest Airlines before Gary Kelly?

Before Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines was Herb Kelleher. Kelleher co-founded the airline and served as its CEO from 1981 to 2001, and then as Executive Chairman from 2008 until 2008. He was largely responsible for the company’s unique and successful business model, focusing on low operating costs and employee-focused culture. During his tenure, Southwest Airlines grew to become the largest low-cost carrier in the United States, and Kelleher was widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential leaders in the airline industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What was Herb Kelleher’s leadership style?

Herb Kelleher was known for his charismatic and people-centered leadership style. He had a hands-on approach and was deeply involved in the company’s operations, often spending time with employees and customers to understand their needs and concerns. Kelleher believed in empowering his employees and fostering a strong company culture based on trust, openness, and humor.

2. What were some of Herb Kelleher’s major accomplishments as CEO of Southwest Airlines?

During his tenure, Kelleher led Southwest Airlines to become one of the most successful and admired airlines in the industry. He implemented the groundbreaking point-to-point route system, which allowed quicker turnaround times and maximized aircraft utilization. Kelleher also fought several legal battles to protect Southwest’s low-cost business model and open competition in the industry.

3. How did Herb Kelleher impact the airline industry as a whole?

Kelleher’s leadership and innovative strategies at Southwest Airlines significantly influenced the entire airline industry. He demonstrated that a low-cost carrier could be profitable without compromising on quality and customer service. Kelleher’s emphasis on putting employees first also set a new standard for company culture and employee relations in the aviation sector.

4. What are some memorable quotes from Herb Kelleher?

Herb Kelleher was known for his colorful and memorable quotes, reflecting his wit and unconventional approach to business. One of his famous quotes is, “I tell my employees that we’re in the service business, and it’s incidental that we fly airplanes.” This quote exemplifies Kelleher’s customer-centric and employee-focused philosophy that shaped Southwest Airlines’ success.

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