Southwest Airlines Executive Shuffle: Who are they?

Southwest CEO: We'll defy Texas ban on the vaccine mandate
Southwest CEO: We'll defy Texas ban on the vaccine mandate

Southwest Airlines, the airline you cannot book in a travel agency or on Expedia had a troubling year in 2023.
It appears this is now resulting in leadership changes for the company.

Southwest Airlines President & Chief Executive Officer, outspoken Bob Jordan who defied Texas’s ban on the vaccine mandate during COVID explained, that the changes solidify Southwest’s Executive Leadership Team as we work to achieve our objectives for 2024 and beyond.

Who received a promotion or change of responsibility in the SouthWestAirlines Structure?

Operations – Justin Jones

Justin Jones, promoted from SVP Operations & Design to EVP Operations, will create closer alignment between operating and implementation Teams and provide Leadership support for Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson.

Jones will lead the organizations responsible for Operations & Hospitality, Air Operations, Technical Operations, and Ops Strategy & Design.

Jones joined Southwest Airlines® in 2001 and has since held positions across the Company, including Executive roles in Operational Strategy and performance, Technical Operations, and Revenue Management and pricing.

Commercial – Tony Roach

As SVP and chief Customer Officer, Tony Roach will oversee Marketing, Customer Experience, Digital Experience, Travel Products, Customer Engagement, Customer Support and services, and Innovation.

With more than two decades of experience at Southwest, Roach drove transformational changes at Southwest, including the establishment of a Customer Experience corporate function, leading the Southwest Promise (the Company’s COVID response program), spearheading the digital self-service and cabin modernization programs, and provided Leadership in many Customer-impacting roles across Field Marketing, Corporate Sales, Product Development, Loyalty Marketing & Partnerships, Customer Experience, and Customer Relations.

Roach and the Customer organization will continue to report to EVP & Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green. Ryan and the Commercial organization will begin reporting to Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson, aligning the Commercial and Operational functions by tightening a feedback loop between the two disciplines.

Enterprise Administration – Angela Marano

Angela Marano assumes the VP Artificial Intelligence and data Transformation role to harmonize work from Teams responsible for Data Science, Automation, and Artificial Intelligence into one organization. She additionally will hold responsibility for creating an Information Governance practice incorporating the Data Privacy Office. While at Southwest, Marano has served as a catalyst for great transformation in building new capabilities for enabling transformation and modernization of the airline operation, Customer Experience, and Enterprise functions.

Elizabeth Bryant

Elizabeth Bryant advances to SVP & Chief People Officer to provide Executive Leadership for People (Human Resources), Talent and leadership Development, Total Rewards (Benefits and Compensation), and Southwest Airlines University (Training.) Since joining Southwest in 1997, she has led many transformative initiatives, including training centralization, furthering performance management, implementation of new HR-related technologies, and the Integration of AirTran Employees into the Southwest organization.

Whitney Eichinger

Whitney Eichinger advances to SVP & Chief Communications Officer to lead Culture & Communications in differentiating the Southwest brand for internal and external audiences with transparent and creative communication, strong community support, and a highly engaged workforce well-recognized for celebrating Customers and each other. Eichinger has shaped nearly two decades of innovative engagement and memorable experiences for Southwest Customers and Employees.

Marano will join Bryant and Eichinger in reporting to Chief Administration Officer Linda Rutherford. 

Regulatory Affairs – Jason van Eaton

Jason Van Eaton will advance to SVP & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer from SVP Governmental Affairs & Real Estate, where he’ll manage legislative and regulatory policy, airport relationships, facility construction and maintenance, corporate security, and real estate planning.

Before his nearly nine years at Southwest, Van Eaton’s professional life revolved around project management, strategic planning and development, and legislative and regulatory policy. He held positions in the U.S. Senate for 13 years before founding a consulting services company. 

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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