Former Southwest Airlines chief executive officer (CEO) Jim Parker passed away aged 72 unexpectedly on Saturday night (26 January) after dinner with very good friends.
He was CEO at the US carrier for three years, leading them through the tough times during the 2001 9/11 tragedy in New York and during his time, Southwest was named as the most admired airline, and one of the three most admired companies in America by Fortune magazine.
Tributes have been paid and Southwest Airlines chairman and chief executive officer, Gary Kelly said: “Jim’s contributions to Southwest Airlines were many and immeasurable, and he valiantly led Southwest through one of the industry’s most trying times in the wake of the tragic 9/11 attacks.
“Under Jim’s Leadership, Southwest successfully navigated through this dark time, preserving the job security of our People while remaining profitable under the most unlikely of odds. We will by flying the Southwest flag at half-staff this week to honor Jim.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to Jim’s wife, Pat, and the entire Parker family. Jim was a beloved member of our Southwest Family, and we will miss him dearly.”