People are not born as excellent leaders; they are nurtured and taught by existing great leaders. Those leaders will see something inside someone—a spark, a unique quality about them, an attitude—and will kindle that potential so it develops.
Herb Kelleher was an incredible Leader. He served Southwest Airlines at the right time, and he guided our Company through some incredible times. Herb also was wise enough to recognize that leadership spark or potential in someone else. When the time was right, Gary Kelly became our Leader.
Just like Herb, Gary has done a phenomenal job, and he has had enough experience in the role of CEO to prepare him for our current crisis. Leadership during such turbulent times requires a steady hand. A CEO must react decisively while avoiding over-compensating. There is no place for procrastination or inertia; neither is there room for knee jerk and uninformed decisions.
Gary has demonstrated outstanding Leadership during the last few months; moving swiftly and specifically in ways to protect our Company and our Employees, without taking unnecessary risks or waiting in hopes things will get better on their own.
And, he has remained focused on one thing—our People. He is taking measured steps to avoid layoffs and to preserve jobs. Listening to today's Shareholder Meeting, which was the first ever "virtual" annual meeting in our Company's history, Gary's calm, optimistic, and intelligent approach was obvious. And, his Servant's Heart was clearly evident.
I consider it a privilege to work for Gary Kelly, and I appreciate his Leadership! And, I am thrilled that the Lord has blessed Southwest Airlines with the right man at the right time to lead us. Again.
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