Southwest Airlines Announces Leadership Updates

Southwest Airlines said that Jason Van Eaton is being promoted to EVP, chief regulatory & corporate affairs officer, as Mark Shaw moves to an executive advisor role. Jeff Novota is being promoted to vice president general counsel & corporate secretary.

EVP, Chief Legal & Regulatory Officer, and Corporate Secretary Mark Shaw has decided to move to an executive adviser role, effective June 1, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced.

With Shaw’s transition, the company said SVP & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Jason Van Eaton is promoted to EVP, 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, Southwest said. He will oversee Southwest’s airport affairs, facilities, governmental affairs, legal, and real estate departments.

Shaw joined Southwest Airlines nearly 24 years ago, the company said.

Throughout his career, Shaw has guided Southwest 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, the company said.

Van Eaton joined Southwest in 2015 and was named senior vice president & chief corporate affairs officer in 2018. Before joining Southwest, he held positions in the U.S. Senate for 13 years before founding a consulting services company he managed for eight years.

Legal leadership

Additionally, Southwest said that Vice President Legal-Corporate & Transactions Jeff Novota is promoted to vice president general counsel & corporate secretary, effective June 1.

In his 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. Novota also will 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, Southwest 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,” Southwest Airlines President & Chief Executive Officer Bob Jordan said in a statement. “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.”

Southwest Airlines Co. operates at 121 airports across 11 countries.

The company took flight in 1971 to democratize the sky through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel and now carries more air travelers flying nonstop within the United States than any other airline.

Southwest said it maintains an unprecedented record of no involuntary furloughs or layoffs in its history.

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