Southwest Airlines names new president, COO

Dallas, Texas-based Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) has changed its executive leadership, with Thomas M. Nealon named as president and Michael G. Van de Ven named as chief operating officer, according to chairman and CEO Gary C. Kelly.

These changes are effective immediately.

In his role as president, Nealon will report to Kelly and have responsibility for the commercial, finance, technology, corporate delivery, and corporate strategy departments.

Nealon re-joined Southwest a year ago as executive vice president strategy & innovation. he had previously been a member of the airline´s board of directors from 2010-2015. He served as Southwest´s chief information officer from 2002-2006.

As chief operating officer, Van de Ven also will report to Kelly and expand his operational responsibilities, by adding customer support & services, hospitality, and the company´s president´s council. His current responsibilities for ground operations, air operations, technical operations, safety & security, labor relations, and operational strategy & performance will continue.

Van de Ven is a 23-year veteran of Southwest and has served in various leadership positions in internal audit, finance, and, for the last 11 years, operations.

In its 46th year of service, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) operates a network of 101 destinations in the United States and eight additional countries with more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season. The company employs more than 53,000 employees , and serves than 100 million customers annually.