Southwest Airlines ups Linda Rutherford to SVP, chief comms officer

Rutherford has been with the airline since 1992.

Linda Rutherford
Linda Rutherford

DALLAS: Southwest Airlines’ Linda Rutherford has been promoted to SVP and chief communications officer.

Rutherford, who was previously VP and CCO, will officially start in the newly created position on Monday. She will report to both CEO Gary Kelly and EVP of corporate services Bob Jordan.

Rutherford’s new responsibilities include oversight of Southwest’s culture services team, which oversees corporate culture and employee engagement. She will also work closely with the corporate services team that creates processes, policies, and training tools for employees.

"[Southwest] is a living, breathing organization," Rutherford said. "It has been exciting to watch the changes that have happened and the evolution of this brand into a global brand. I’m excited to be part of the executive team as were contemplating the future."

Along with the new responsibilities, Rutherford will continue overseeing all facets of the airline’s communications, including PR, employee communications, media relations, visual communications, social business, emergency response and business continuity, charitable giving, community affairs, and community engagement.

Rutherford has been with Southwest for 25 years in various communications roles, first joining the company in 1992. She led the airline through a technology outage crisis that cancelled or delayed up to 700 flights last summer.

This week, a passenger was forcibly removed from a Southwest flight by police after telling crew she had a deadly animal allergy while several pets were on board.

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