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Southwest Airlines co-founder Kelleher dies

by Kent Covington
Posted 1/04/19, 11:02 am

Herb Kelleher, the eccentric co-founder of Southwest Airlines, died Thursday. He was 87. Not many CEOs dress up as Elvis Presley, settle a business dispute with an arm-wrestling contest, or appear on TV wearing a paper bag over their head, but Kelleher did all of those things. And along the way he practically invented the low-fare airline sector. Kelleher became Southwest’s chairman in 1978 and CEO in 1982, leading the company through its period of greatest growth. He stepped down as chief executive in 2001 and retired as chairman seven years later. Southwest Airlines confirmed his death on Thursday but did not indicate the cause. His wife, Joan, and three of their four children survive him.

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