Southwest Airlines Announces Leadership Promotions

Southwest Airlines Co. announced five leadership promotions across several departments. These changes, which are effective immediately, represent Phase 2 of the organizational structure work that began in September 2022. A Southwest Airlines Jan. 9 news release says, “This phase will provide strong synergies by bringing teams together, which will strengthen our operational execution. and better serve our people and customers.”

Adam Decaire is promoted from Vice President Network Planning to Senior Vice President of Network Planning and Network Operations Control (NOC), where he will continue to report to Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson. Matt Hafner, VP of Network Operations Control (NOC) will report to Decaire. This change creates a tighter feedback loop between schedule design and schedule execution while adding resiliency and reliability to the Network. Decaire has championed the design and deployment of innovative technologies and solutions in Network Planning that helped manage through wide-scale schedule dynamics. In this new role, he will continue to provide his vast knowledge of the airline’s network combined with a unified organization bringing together Network Planning with the NOC.

Decaire began his career at Southwest Airlines in 1996 as a ramp agent in Cleveland, Ohio. He spent more than four years in various operational roles before transitioning to Network Planning, which he has led as vice president since April 2018. Decaire graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Aviation Management.

Tony Roach is promoted from Vice President Customer Experience & Engagement to Senior Vice President Marketing & Customer Experience, and he will continue to report to Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green. In this role, the functions under Roach’s leadership include Marketing, Product, Digital, Customer Experience & Engagement. His oversight will now expand to include: digital experience, go to market efforts, and the airline’s loyalty program, Rapid Rewards, as well as ancillary products.

Roach joined the company in 2001, where he spent over a decade in various roles across Marketing, most notably overseeing Rapid Rewards Partnerships. In 2017, he took on the carrier’s Customer Experience efforts, and in 2021, Customer Relations, where he recently formed the broader Customer Experience & Engagement Team. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Management from Abilene Christian University.

Whitney Eichinger is promoted from Vice President Culture & Engagement to Senior Vice President Culture & Communications. Eichinger will continue to report to Chief Administration & Communications Officer Linda Rutherford and will continue to lead the Culture & Engagement function, in addition to the Communications & Outreach Department. In this role, she will lead Southwest’s efforts around Culture, Communications, and Engagement.

Eichinger launched her career at Southwest Airlines, where she spent 15 years in various Leadership roles within Communications & Outreach. In 2014, she departed the Company to join the Ford Motor Co., where she led efforts on financial, investor, and legal communications, as well as those surrounding the Lincoln brand. Prior to returning to Southwest, Eichinger led Communications at Detroit-based Rock Ventures and Bedrockert, before returning to Southwest Airlines in 2019 as Vice President Culture & Engagement. Eichinger has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from The University of Texas at Arlington.

Jeff Novota is promoted from Associate General Counsel to Vice President Legal-Corporate & Transactions. In his new role, Novota will provide counsel on corporate governance, securities, compliance, transactional, and general corporate matters. He and his Team provide legal support to the company’s treasury, finance, investor relations, real estate, supply chain, sustainability, commercial, and operations functions. Novota will report to Executive Vice President and Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer Mark Shaw.

Prior to joining Southwest in 2011, Novota practiced at a Chicago law firm where he concentrated on aviation finance and regulatory matters. He received his JD from Indiana University and his Bachelor of Science from Purdue University. Novota is also an FAA-licensed commercial multi-engine pilot and flight instructor.

Dave Harvey is promoted from Vice President Southwest Business to Vice President and Chief Sales Officer (CSO) and will continue to report to EVP & Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green. His Teams are responsible for all aspects of business-to-business selling and service for accounts including global, national, federal/state, higher education, mid-market, small business, and meetings/events travel. Additionally, Harvey’s teams manage all distribution relationships (global distribution systems, travel management companies, online booking tools, and technology intermediaries) across sales channels. Harvey has been with Southwest Airlines since 1999, serving in various roles across Technology, Corporate Strategy, Commercial Planning, Network Planning, Business Development, Corporate Sales, and most recently, Vice President Southwest Business.

Harvey received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas in Austin in Management Information Systems and both his Master of Business Administration in Operations Management and Master of Science in Organizational Strategy from the University of Texas in Dallas.

β€œThe strength of Southwest Airlines is and always has been our People, and I am incredibly proud to have such talented and dedicated Leaders who have a passion to serve our Employees and our Customers,” said Southwest Airlines President & CEO Bob Jordan. β€œI would like to congratulate and thank Adam, Tony, Whitney, Jeff, and Dave for taking on these additional responsibilities at such a crucial time for our beloved company.”

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