United CEO Jeffery Smisek To Serve As Vice Chair
Two well-known names in the airline industry have been elected to top posts on the Board of Directors of industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A). Southwest Airlines Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly has been elected to a two-year term to serve as Chairman of the board, and United Airlines Chairman, President and CEO, Jeffery Smisek was elected to serve as Vice Chairman. Kelly succeeds Delta CEO Richard H. Anderson.
"Gary Kelly (pictured) is a dynamic leader who has been instrumental in moving the goals of the U.S. airline industry forward," said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. "We congratulate Gary on his election as our Chairman and look forward to working with him in our continued push to further a National Airline Policy, which is critical to America's economic growth, our communities, our infrastructure and the traveling public. We also want to thank Richard Anderson for his exceptional leadership as A4A's Board Chairman over the past two years. Richard's clear vision, unwavering commitment and determination helped transform A4A into a highly effective advocate for the U.S. airline industry. His efforts have paved the way for a more competitive global commercial aviation industry in this country."
"I am honored to be named as A4A's Chairman, and I am committed to our continued work to help ensure the long-term stability and viability of the aviation industry," Kelly said. "The U.S. airline industry plays a vital role in the overall health of our nation's economy. I look forward to the opportunity to work with my industry peers to advocate for a National Airline Policy and serve our passengers, our employees and our communities."
Gary Kelly began his career at Southwest Airlines as controller in 1986, moving up to Chief Financial Officer and Vice president of Finance, then Executive Vice President and CFO, before being promoted to CEO and Vice Chairman in July 2004. Gary assumed the role of Chairman in May 2008 and President in July 2008. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines in 1986, Gary was a CPA for Arthur Young & Company in Dallas and controller for Systems Center, Inc.
Smisek is President and CEO of United Continental Holdings, Inc., the holding company for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Previously, Smisek was Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Continental Airlines, Inc. Smisek joined Continental in 1995 as Senior Vice President and General Counsel. In 2004, he became President and was elected to the company's board of directors. He became President and Chief Operating Officer in September 2008 and assumed the role of Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2010.