Southwest Airlines President Retires After Being Passed Over for CEO Job

With Nealon’s departure, chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven is being promoted to president

Tom Nealon, president of Southwest Airlines Co., listens during the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Monday, May 15, 2019.
Michael Ciaglo | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines president Tom Nealon will retire from the carrier immediately, the company announced Monday, three months after Nealon was passed over for the CEO job.

In June, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly announced he will retire early next year and selected longtime company executive Bob Jordan to take his place. Nealon was an obvious candidate as a successor to the CEO position but didn’t get the job.

Nealon will stay on at Southwest as a “strategic adviser,” the company said.

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