Southwest Airlines Co. announced that Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly will transition roles in early 2022, becoming the carrier's Executive Chairman with the desire to serve in that role through at least 2026 at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Executive Vice President Corporate Services Robert Jordan will become Kelly's successor as CEO effective February 1, 2022. Jordan also will join the Board at that time. Serving as CEO since 2004, Kelly, 66, has led Southwest through some of the airline industry's most turbulent times. Kelly is a 35-year Southwest veteran who began his career at Southwest Airlines as Controller, moving up to Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Finance, then Executive Vice President and CFO, before being promoted to CEO and Vice Chairman in July 2004. He assumed the roles of Chairman and President in 2008. In January 2017, Kelly relinquished the title of President and named former Southwest Board Member and Executive Tom Nealon to the executive team as President. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines in 1986, Kelly was a CPA for Arthur Young & Company in Dallas and Controller for Systems Center Inc. Kelly has often said his biggest source of pride is the fact that Southwest Airlines has never had a single layoff or furlough in the airline's 50-year history. As CEO, he has guided the airline's transformation through several major initiatives, including the acquisition of AirTran Airways, the repeal of the Wright Amendment, the launch of international destinations for the first time in Southwest's history, the installment of a new reservation system, introduction of a new frequent flyer program, debut of the new Heart brand and livery, initiation of the long-awaited service to Hawaii, and the introduction of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 into the airline's fleet all while staying true to the Company's core values and People-centric Culture. Jordan, 60, is a long-time Southwest Executive with broad and deep experience. Joining the airline in 1988, he has served in roles including Director of Revenue Accounting, Corporate Controller, Vice President Procurement, Vice President Technology, Senior Vice President Enterprise Spend Management, Executive Vice President Strategy and Technology, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, AirTran President and Executive Vice President Corporate Services. During his tenure, he has led numerous significant transformational projects, including the acquisition of AirTran Airways, the development of the new southwest.come-commerce platform, the Rapid Rewards loyalty program, and enhanced boarding process. Most recently, Jordan led the efforts for the Company's voluntary leave and early separation programs, which were key to reducing the airline's labor expenses during the pandemic and instrumental in avoiding layoffs and furlough actions. Prior to Southwest, Jordan worked for Hewlett-Packard as a programmer and financial analyst. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A&M University. He joined Coppell-based The Container Store's Board of Directors in 2013 and currently serves as its Lead Director. He and wife, Kelly, live in Flower Mound and have two adult children and two grandchildren.