- Southwest’s previous CEO designed a “cult” focused on its headquarters, its pilots’ union VP claimed.
- Captain Tom Nekouei reported in an open up letter that Gary Kelly’s chickens experienced “occur home to roost.”
- Southwest canceled tens of thousands of flights in excess of the vacation season adhering to winter storms.
The gentleman who ran Southwest Airlines for virtually two many years turned it into a “cult” centered on its Dallas headquarters and unsuccessful to make certain the provider could cope with climate-similar disruption, a pilots’ union formal stated.
In a scathing open letter dated December 31, Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association vice-president Captain Tom Nekouei accused Gary Kelly of prioritizing shareholders above staff members through his time primary the firm, and drew a direct link involving his steps and its pre-Christmas chaos.
Technological problems compelled Southwest to cancel tens of countless numbers of flights subsequent wintertime storms.
Captain Mike Santoro, an additional pilots’ union vice-president, instructed Insider that the airline’s “out-of-date” scheduling application created the disruption significantly more difficult to get well from than it normally need to have.
The airline seasoned a even more procedure glitch on Wednesday that grounded extra flights.
Nekouei claimed “systemwide meltdowns” experienced come to be additional recurrent around the past 15 decades, and there had never been any real accountability for the airline’s choice-makers.
“And now, Gary Kelly’s chickens have appear property to roost. In real Southwest vogue, our executives continue to apologize and ‘accept responsibility’ out of a single facet of their mouths even though creating banal excuses that deflect from the legitimate cause out of the other facet,” Nekouei wrote.
Kelly took above as CEO of Southwest in 2004 from Herb Kelleher, who Nekouei said took an much more employee-centric technique to functions and processes. Kelly stepped down as CEO in January 2022 but retains a strong role as executive chairman.
Nekouei explained Kelly invested $12 billion buying again the company’s inventory throughout his tenure as CEO to retain the share price — and therefore help boost his remuneration — instead than devote in units “in determined will need of significant investment and up grade.”
“Though Gary’s financial acumen are not able to be debated, his lousy operational management and judgment have been shown repeatedly with just about every meltdown and finally laid bare with the recent problem we come across ourselves in,” Nekouei wrote.
Kelly’s final decision to carry in other leading executives with accounting backgrounds led to “a monetization of the as soon as vaunted Southwest society and rather turning it into a headquarters-centric cult,” he included. “Gary Kelly’s only enduring legacy is that he wrecked Herb Kelleher’s.”
A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines mentioned it had a “far more than 51-year history of letting – and encouraging – its staff members to categorical their views in a respectful way.”