Skip to main content
Important FAFSA Update

Please click here to learn more about how we can support you.

Herbert D. Kelleher

January 1, 2019

Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer Southwest Airlines, Inc. (Deceased) – Dallas, Texas

Often termed outrageous as well as brilliant, Herb Kelleher, Chairman, President and CEO of Southwest Airlines is one of America’s best examples of a leader. Educated at Wesleyan University, where he was student body president and an outstanding athlete, he then obtained a law degree with honors from New York University. Hired as outside counsel in 1966 by Southwest founder Rollin King, he became so enamored with the company that he bought an early interest and became it’s President in 1978. His leadership defies what other established airlines have done over the last 15 years. Utilizing only one kind of aircraft, the Boeing 737 and refusing to link up with computer reservation systems by travel agents have made Southwest the best “performer” in the industry. It has made a profit for twenty one straight years and was the only carrier to make a profit in 1992. Mr. Kelleher’s outstanding accomplishments as an entrepreneur, statesman, and business leader have resulted in numerous awards, culminating in being recognized by Fortune Magazine as CEO of the Year in 1994. He is married to Joan and they have four children and two grandchildren. “Think long, not short term, and realize that ethics, morality, conscience and core values, not expediency, are the keys to prolonged success.”