Gary C. Kelly
Chairman of the Board
& Chief Executive Officer
Gary C. Kelly serves as the chairman of the board and chief executive officer at Southwest Airlines. During Kelly’s tenure, Southwest has grown to become the nation’s largest airline in terms of originating domestic passengers carried.
Kelly began his career at Southwest Airlines as controller, moving up to chief financial officer and vice president finance, then executive vice president and CFO, before being promoted to CEO and vice chairman in July 2004. In 2008, Kelly assumed the roles of chairman and president. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines in 1986, he was a CPA for Arthur Young & Company in Dallas and Controller for Systems Center, Inc.
Kelly has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years, most notably twice being named D CEO Magazine’s CEO of the Year. Kelly has been named one of the best CEOs in America by Institutional Investor magazine three times, and was selected as Dallas Business Journal’s CEO of the year for 2011. In 2010, he was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2013, Kelly was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame at the University of Texas at Austin, and received the 2013 McLane Leadership in Business Award at Texas A&M University.
Kelly received a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. He has served the University in a number of capacities, including on the McCombs School Advisory Council. Kelly is a Certified Public Accountant and is chairman of Airlines for America, an industry association, where he previously served on the President’s Job Council.