Southwest Airlines COO stepping down amid leadership changes

He will become an executive adviser in 2023

Southwest Airlines announced Monday that its chief operating officer, Mike Van de Ven, will be stepping down.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
LUV SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 39.75 -0.33 -0.82%

Van de Ven will step down as COO at the end of the month after serving in the position for about 14 years, the airline said in a press release. He is also giving up his role as president at the end of the year, at which time Southwest's CEO, Bob Jordan, will take over.

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"I want to thank Mike for nearly three decades of leadership and his unwavering commitment to the cause that is Southwest Airlines," Jordan said in a statement. "We would not be where we are today without his countless contributions."

A Southwest Airlines plane in Virginia

A Southwest Airlines plane approaches the runway at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on April 2, 2022. (Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Andrew Watterson, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, will replace Van de Ven, who joined the company in 1993, as COO, effective Oct. 1. Starting in 2023, Van de Ven will serve as an executive adviser, the airline said.

Two other leadership changes at Southwest are occurring at the beginning of October.

Ryan Green, currently senior vice president and chief marketing officer at the airline, will become an executive vice president and the chief commercial officer, Southwest announced. Meanwhile, Linda Rutherford will also be promoted to chief administration and communications officer.

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Jordan, who became CEO in February, congratulated Watterson, Green and Rutherford on their promotions, saying in the statement that the company is "in good hands with their expertise, Leadership, and LUV for our People."

Southwest Airlines

A Southwest Airlines airplane taxies from a gate at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Oct. 11, 2021, in Baltimore. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images / Getty Images)

In late July, Southwest Airlines reported $6.7 billion in second-quarter operating revenues, compared to $4 billion in the same period the year prior. It also posted $825 million in quarterly net income excluding "special items."

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Its third-quarter earnings for 2022 are expected to be released Oct. 27.