For this paper, and from the options provided, I have selected Gary Kelly, of Southwest Airlines. He is the current CEO at Southwest, and during his 23 year long venture at southwest he has been able to do many great things for the company, making it a place where people wanted to come to work, even on their days off. He started out as a controller in 1984 and then moving on to become Southwest’s CFO in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2004 that Gary Kelley was made the CEO.
During his many years at with the company he has worked very close with the co-founder Herbert Kelleher, during that time you could say that Herbert was Gary’s mentor, and as it turns out both of them have a few things in common. Both of these men were born on May 12th, both came from middle class families, and both were pretty good athletes when they attended school. Gary has some great ways he treats his employees and runs his company, and he seems to care very much for his employees I’d say to the point in which he would view them as family, and he takes care of his family.
Throughout the past couple weeks in class we have used southwest as a discussion topic, and in doing this we have seen just how great these southwest employees seem to have it. days where employees are more than happy to come in even if they are off that day, and give their fellow employees a break, hiding out and surprising the crews of planes, and offering them snacks and a break while they in turn clean their plane.
In one of the videos we watched a video in which Gary Kelly was at a picnic and the employees just came up to him to take pictures with him and just give him a hug, it seems that he has truly made this company a family. Gary Kelley was even named ‘Texas Public School’s Friend of the Year’, for his strong commitment to public education, and his ability to “…clearly see beyond the sensational headlines, and often negative politics, and understand that the success of Texas public education is everyone’s business. ”(Pediatrics Week 2008).
He has had a commitment to the public schools in Texas, supporting both educational organizations and employee volunteer programs. But lets not get away from the great business man he is, one article I read had this to say about him, “…Kelly has been as aggressive as Kelleher was in his youth – and perhaps even more confrontational, combining the instinct of a cockpit killer with the disarming, “aw-shucks” demeanor of the nice guy next door. ” (Fitzpatrick, 2005) His quick thinking and out bidding his competitors, he was able to secure Chicago’s Midway
Airport for around 117 million dollar bid for the assets and gates of the bankrupt ATA airlines company. As well as taking steps to open up flights to both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, in an effort to show that he’s more than happy to take on Pennsylvania’s main airline US Airways. One of the things I really like about Gary Kelly is his level of respect, in this article from Fitzpatrick, it says, “Kelly also was not willing to take credit for the airline’s recent moves, saying it is “foolish” to think that “one person deserves credit for everything. ” (Fitzpatrick 2005) But my favorite part of this article was the final sentences in which Mr. Kelly says, “I’d much rather talk about Herb than me. He’s a legend and he’s earned that. I’ve been in the job for eight or nine months. I haven’t earned anything. I’m just another Southwest employee, who just happens to be the CEO. “(Fitzpatrick 2005) Through all of this that I have read about Mr.
Gary Kelly, I have learned that he truly cares for those who work for him, and while he could use his position as the CEO to try and instill fear into his employees, he would rather treat them all with respect and kindness, kind of reminds me of an old saying my grandmother use to say, you can get more flies with a few drops of honey than a whole cup of vinegar, basically she just said to be kind and that will get you farther than had you behaved in a disrespectful way.
So far it has worked for Mr. Kelly; I am truly impressed with Southwest Airlines and all they have done to ensure the happiness of their customers and employees, he truly is a great man.