Gary Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Airlines Co., speaks during an event in the new Southwest Airlines Co. International Terminal at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas.

Carter Smith | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines will replace Gary Kelly as CEO next year with corporate veteran Robert Jordan, the airline announced on Wednesday.

Kelly will hold the position of executive chairman until “at least” 2026, the company said.

Kelly, 66, has been CEO since 2004 and led the Dallas-based airline through challenges such as the financial crisis and, more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic.

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