Longtime Southwest Airlines CEO will step down next year

DALLAS (AP) — Change is coming in the leadership of Southwest Airlines. Southwest said Wednesday that longtime CEO Gary Kelly will step down next February and be succeeded by Robert Jordan, the airline’s executive vice president of corporate services. Dallas-based Southwest says Kelly, who is 66, plans to remain as executive chairman at least through 2026. Kelly has been CEO since 2004, leading the nation’s fourth-biggest airline through a recession in 2008 and now the pandemic. Jordan, the new CEO, has overseen been projects at Southwest include the acquisition of AirTran Airways and the overhaul of the airline’s frequent-flyer program.