Gary C. Kelly
Chairman of the Board, President & Chief Executive Officer
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Gary Kelly serves as the Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer at Southwest Airlines. Under Gary's leadership, Southwest has grown to become the nation's largest airline in terms of originating domestic passengers carried and is a mainstay on Fortune magazine's list of the most admired companies in the world, ranking seventh in 2013.
Gary is a 28-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. Gary assumed the roles of Chairman and President in 2008. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines in 1986, Gary was a CPA for Arthur Young & Company in Dallas and Controller for Systems Center, Inc.
Southwest Airlines is celebrating 41 years of consecutive profitability and was named #1 in Customer Service by the 2013 Airline Quality Rankings. Southwest has consistently received the lowest ration of Customer Complaints to the Department of Transportation (DOT) since they began tracking Customer Satisfaction. Gary's biggest source of pride is the fact that Southwest Airlines has never had a single furlough in the airline's 43-year history. Gary is pioneering the airline's transformation through several key initiatives, including the integration of AirTran Airways and launching international destinations in 2014 for the first time in Southwest's history.
Gary has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years, most notably twice being named D CEO Magazine's CEO of the Year; Gary has been named one of the best CEOs in America by Institutional Investor magazine three times; and Gary was selected as Dallas Business Journal's CEO of the year for 2011. In 2010, Gary was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas at Austin, and in 2013, Gary was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame at the University of Texas at Austin. Gary received the 2013 Father of the Year Award; and Gary was the recipient of the 2013 McLane Leadership in Business Award at Texas A&M University.
Gary is a lifelong Texan and received a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. As a proud alumnus, Gary has served the University in a number of capacities, including on the McCombs School Advisory Council. Gary is a Certified Public Accountant; serves on the Board of Directors of the Lincoln National Corporation; and is Chairman of Airlines for America. Gary previously served on the President's Job Council.