High-flying Herbie Southwest's CEO praised by public, idolized by workers

September 12, 1993|By Suzanne Wooton | Suzanne Wooton,Staff Writer

Herb Kelleher strides across the plush, Harbor Court Hotel lobby and greets the awaiting Southwest Airlines workers with a good-morning kiss for the women.Then, jamming a crumpled cigarette between his lips, Mr. Kelleher launches into what he does best.

Chairman and chief executive officer of Southwest Airlines

BORN: March 12, 1931, Haddon Heights, N.J.

EDUCATED: Wesleyan University, B.A.; New York University Law School, LL.B.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Founder, director and general counsel of Southwest Airlines from its inception in 1967 to 1978; chairman of board from 1978 to present. Founder and director of Oppenheimer, Rosenberg, Kelleher and Wheatley Inc., a San Antonio law firm (1971-1990).

CIVIC: Served on numerous boards; recently was the only airline representative on the National Commission to Ensure a Strong and Competitive Airline Industry.

AWARDS: Honored repeatedly as top CEO in industry by various groups. Southwest has been recognized 13 times by the U.S. Department of Transportation for simultaneously having the best on-time record, baggage handling and fewest customer complaints.

FAMILY: Married to the former Joan Negley; four grown children: Julie, Michael, Ruth and David.

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