Southwest Airlines Makes Leadership Changes Across the Company

The recent appointments span Southwest's operational, marketing, and technology teams.

Dallas-headquartered Southwest Airlines has made a number of leadership moves across various departments.

The changes follow a big one that the air carrier announced in September: Tom Nealon had decided to retire from his role as president. Mike Van de Ven, Southwest’s chief operating officer, immediately assumed Nealon’s role, keeping his current position as COO.

The most recent shake-up spans Southwest’s operational, marketing, and technology teams.

Justin Jones was promoted from vice president of technical operations planning and performance to senior vice president of operational strategy and design. In his new role, Jones will lead Southwest’s modernization and operational improvements. He has been with the airline since 2001, holding various performance and strategy roles since.

Angela Marano was promoted from managing director of business transformation to vice president of business transformation, serving in a group that offers capabilities such as innovation/human-centered design, continuous improvement, emerging trends, data science, and automation. With the change, Marano and her team will transition from the finance department to the new strategy & design team. She has been with Southwest since 1998.

Jonathan Clarkson was promoted to vice president of marketing, loyalty, and products. His responsibilities include managing Southwest’s ancillary revenue products and leading the business performance/data science and customer insights/testing & optimizations teams. He was most recently a managing director that oversaw general management for Rapid Rewards, Southwest’s frequent flyer program, and the airline’s partnerships.

Following the news that Chief Information Security Officer Michael Simmons was departing from the company, Jim Dayton is transitioning to the role. As CISO, Dayton will oversee all aspects of cybersecurity across facilities, airports, and aircraft. He has held several senior leadership positions across Southwest since joining the company in 2012. He will also now serve as vice president of cybersecurity.

John Herlihy was promoted from managing director to vice president of technology operations and enterprise initiative delivery, a role that oversee the technical operations portfolio that supports aircraft maintenance applications and various products. He will also lead the enterprise initiative delivery team, a newly formed group focused on critical department-wide cybersecurity improvements and data privacy. 

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