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Southwest Airlines Announces New Vice President, Board Member

Southwest Airlines announced several leadership changes as the carrier continues to bounce back from a tumultuous winter holiday travel period.

The airline revealed the promotion of Lauren Woods from Vice President of Technology to Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Woods will report to Chief Administration and Communications Officer Linda Rutherford.


In her new role, Woods will help manage the carrier’s technology investments, upgrades and system maintenance, which totaled approximately $1.3 billion in 2023. She is also focused on transforming Southwest’s enterprise data platforms that drive data science, analytics, optimization and system integrations.

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“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,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said.

In addition, Southwest’s Board of Directors appointed Jill Soltau as a member of the Board, effective February 15. Soltau, along with the other Board nominees, will be on the ballot for the Southwest Airlines 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

Soltau served as the CEO of J. C. Penney Company, Inc. from 2018 through 2020, and previously served as President and CEO of privately held JoAnn Stores, Inc., leading the nation’s largest fabric and crafts retailer from 2015-2018.

“Jill is a transformational and innovative leader with vast experience and a proven track record of success throughout her career,” Southwest Executive Chairman of the Board Gary Kelly said.

“She brings valuable experience leading companies and in her work advising Boards on a number of critical issues in today’s environment, including areas across DE&I, sustainability, risk management, strategy & development, finance, customer experience, operations, and technology,” Kelly continued.

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