Southwest Airlines Co. today announced a continuation of the carrier’s legacy of Culture leadership with a new Managing Director of Culture & Engagement, Whitney Eichinger. In this role, Eichinger will be responsible for Southwest’s enterprise support of the airline’s iconic Culture, along with the roadmaps for the Employee Experience and Employee Insights. The Change Leadership Team will be part of the Culture & Engagement function as well. To view Officer biographies, visit: www.swamedia.com.
Eichinger returns to Southwest, where she formerly spent 15 years in the Communication & Outreach Department. She will report to Southwest’s Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer Linda Rutherford.
Southwest’s Managing Director of Culture Services, Cheryl Hughey, is assuming a new role as Senior Advisor. In her nearly four decades with Southwest, Hughey has served in many roles, from a Reservation Sales Agent to her most recent position—and several operational and Leadership roles in between.
In her new role as Senior Advisor, Hughey will leverage her experience and strengths as she works with a dedicated Team to help plan for the airline’s 50th Milestone Anniversary in 2021. Additionally, Hughey will continue to lend her talents to the carrier’s training and development Teams as a guest professor at SWA University.
“The expanded Culture & Engagement function will work to ensure that we know our Employees well, and that we are providing relevant and engaging programs and events to serve our more than 60,000 strong workforce,” said Rutherford.
“The airline industry is a dynamic one, and we’re at a point as we approach our 50th anniversary where our workforce is more diverse than ever and we want to continue to nurture our Culture to scale as we grow. I’m delighted to bring Whitney home to the Southwest Family, and I’m grateful we’ll continue to benefit from Cheryl’s commitment and dedication to our cause.”
Eichinger left Southwest in 2014 to pursue a role at Ford Motor Co. At Ford, she developed a new communications strategy for Ford’s quarterly financials and handled the company’s communication for general counsel. In 2016, Eichinger joined the Rock Family of Companies where she was most recently the Vice President, Communications for Rock Ventures and Bedrock, the commercial real estate investment firm owned by Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans and the Rock Family of Companies, and Chairman of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In this role, she worked collaboratively with the more than 100 businesses in the Rock Family of Companies to share Detroit’s success story through the media and through team members in an effort to rebuild the narrative of Detroit. Eichinger led communications alongside private and public partners for the Detroit’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2 and she created a communications team within Bedrock to further establish the company’s reputation in Detroit and across the country.
Eichinger has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Arlington.