Southwest Airlines announces leadership updates

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Southwest Airlines Co. announced today that Executive Vice President & Chief Legal & Regulatory Officer & Corporate Secretary Mark Shaw has decided to move to an Executive Advisor role, effective June 1.

Shaw joined Southwest Airlines nearly 24 years ago. Throughout his career, he’s guided the Company and its Board of Directors through complex legal challenges from acquiring AirTran Airways and parent AirTran Holdings to the numerous policy and regulatory issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, including leading the legal aspects of multiple financings and the Company’s participation in the Payroll Support Program under the CARES Act.

With Shaw’s transition, Senior Vice President & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Jason Van Eaton is promoted to Executive Vice President, Chief Regulatory & Corporate Affairs Officer, effective June 1.

In this role, Van Eaton’s duties will include legislative and regulatory policy oversight, airline airport relationships management, facility construction and maintenance, corporate security, and real estate planning.

He’ll oversee the Company’s Airport Affairs, Facilities, Governmental Affairs, Legal, and Real Estate Departments.

Van Eaton joined Southwest in May 2015 and was named Senior Vice President & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer in 2018.

Before landing at Southwest, he held positions in the U.S. Senate for 13 years before founding a consulting services company he managed for eight years.

Van Eaton received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University.

Additionally, Vice President Legal—Corporate & Transactions Jeff Novota is promoted to Vice President General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, effective June 1.

In this role, Novota will lead Southwest’s Legal Department, overseeing all legal functions across various practice areas, including corporate governance, securities, compliance, commercial transactions, general corporate, labor and employment, and litigation matters.

He’ll also provide legal advice and strategic guidance to the Company’s Senior Management Committee and Board of Directors.

Before joining Southwest in 2011, Novota was a practicing attorney at a Chicago law firm, concentrating on transportation finance and regulatory matters.

He received his J.D. from Indiana University and his Bachelor of Science from Purdue University. He also holds an FAA commercial multi-engine pilot certificate.

Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines President & Chief Executive Officer said: “We appreciate Mark’s many years of dedicated service at Southwest, and we’re delighted he’ll continue to serve as an Executive Advisor.

“Mark’s trusted counsel and Leadership helped us navigate many triumphs and challenges throughout his career.

“As Jason and Jeff step into their new roles, the proven expertise and extensive experience they each possess, along with Mark’s continued guidance, will result in a seamless and successful transition.”