Southwest Airlines announces Executive Leadership changes

Southwest Airlines Co. today shared Executive Leadership changes and organizational alignment effective Friday, Dec. 1, to provide additional focus and clarity to support the Company’s strategic priorities.

“We’re closing out a year of purposeful investment in our capabilities and resiliency, having made enormous strides in a more seamless experience for our Customers,” Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines President & Chief Executive Officer said. “These changes solidify Southwest’s Executive Leadership Team as we work to achieve our objectives for 2024 and beyond.”

  • Justin Jones will elevate to Executive Vice President Operations, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson. Jones will lead the Teams coordinating modernization and oversight of the daily operation of the airline.
  • Tony Roach will advance to a new role as Senior Vice President & Chief Customer Officer under Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green, who now will report to Watterson. Roach will oversee the end-to-end Customer Experience.
  • Elizabeth Bryant will advance to Senior Vice President & Chief People Officer; Whitney Eichinger will advance to Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer; both will continue reporting to Chief Administration Officer Linda Rutherford. Angela Marano will join Rutherford’s Executive Leadership Team in assuming the role of Vice President Artificial Intelligence & Data Transformation to lead a new organization defining an infrastructure and governance to harness the power of data and artificial intelligence and the Company’s Data Privacy Office.
  • Jason Van Eaton will advance to Senior Vice President & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, reporting to Executive Vice President and Chief Legal & Regulatory Officer Mark Shaw.

“These changes not only individually recognize the excellent contributions from these Executive Leaders,” Jordan added, “we’re collectively creating an organizational structure that reflects our priority of caring for the Employees who serve our Customers, elevating the experience of traveling, and bolstering our foundational Reliability and financial performance.”

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 & Performance, Technical Operations, and Revenue Management & Pricing.

As SVP & Chief Customer Officer, Tony Roach will oversee Marketing, Customer Experience, Digital Experience, Travel Products, Customer Engagement, Customer Support & 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 assumes the VP Artificial Intelligence & 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 advances to SVP & Chief People Officer to provide Executive Leadership for People (Human Resources), Talent & 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 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 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.