Bio Box: Southwest co-founder Herb Kelleher

AP News
Posted: Jun 24, 2011 10:29 AM
Bio Box: Southwest co-founder Herb Kelleher

Herbert D. Kelleher

Southwest Airlines Co.: Co-founder, former CEO and chairman and now chairman emeritus


Age: 80, born in Haddon Heights, N.J., father was a manager for Campbell's Soup. Attended Wesleyan University and earned his law degree from New York University. Married Joan Negley in 1955; four grown children.


1956: Moved to San Antonio, Texas, to practice law.

1967: After a client, Rollin King, came to Kelleher with the idea, they incorporated a low-cost airline named Air Southwest Inc.

1971: After more than three years of legal challenges by other airlines, the company, by then called Southwest Airlines, began flying between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio with three planes.

1978: Becomes acting chairman, later given the job outright. Briefly serves as interim CEO.

1981: Named president and CEO after top executive leaves to join Braniff.

2001: Steps down as CEO but remains chairman as James Parker and then Gary Kelly become CEO.

2008: Retires as chairman. Southwest has more than 520 planes and carries the most U.S. passengers of any airline.

AFFILIATIONS: Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, board member of the National Air and Space Museum.

QUOTABLE: "You can't have a mid-life crisis in the airline industry because every day is a crisis."