Illustration: Southwest Airlines
Dallas-headquartered Southwest Airlines Co. has promoted Lauren Woods from vice president of technology to senior vice president and chief information officer.
She will report to Chief Administration & Communications Officer Linda Rutherford.
Woods joined Southwest in 2010 and has led key initiatives across the airline’s Technology Department, supporting its digital and customer channels and various operations teams and platforms. She established cloud infrastructure, creating a new development and delivery platform for complex application ecosystems, the company said.
Lauren Woods via LinkedIn
She will play an important role in managing the airline’s technology investments, upgrades, and system maintenance totaling roughly $1.3 billion in 2023 alone, Southwest said. Woods also is focused on the transformation of the airline’s enterprise data platform that drives its data science, analytics, optimization, and system integrations.
Woods assumes this new role following Kathleen Merrill’s decision in September to move to an executive adviser role in early 2023.
The company said that Merrill was instrumental in creating the Strategic Planning and Implementation Department, rolling out a new Rapid Rewards system, integrating Air Tran into Southwest and beginning to fly internationally, upgrading technology platforms from Sabre to Amadeus, and Southwest’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I first want to thank Kathleen for her many and immeasurable contributions to Southwest Airlines for nearly 19 years, overseeing some of the industry’s largest and most historic technology projects. We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for the many positive ways Kathleen contributed to Southwest’s reputation as one of the most celebrated companies and we are grateful she will continue serving Southwest in her new role,” Southwest Airlines President & CEO Bob Jordan said in a statement. “Lauren’s vast experience has prepared her well for this important role, as she’s built a stellar reputation for being an innovative and transformational Leader in our Technology Department and throughout the company.”
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