Basic Information About Herb Kelleher
|Category||Business › CEOs|
|Date of birth||1931-03-12|
|Date of death||2019-01-03 (aged 87)|
|Nationality||United States of America|
|Social Media||↗︎ Wikipedia|
Net Worth Details
Herb Kelleher was a billionaire airline businessman and lawyer who had a net worth of $2.5 billion at the time of his death in January 2019. Throughout his career, Kelleher achieved tremendous success as the co-founder, Chairman Emeritus, and former CEO of Southwest Airlines.
What is Herb Kelleher known for?
Herb Kelleher is best known for co-founding Southwest Airlines, one of the most successful and admired airline companies in the world. Under his visionary leadership, Southwest Airlines revolutionized the industry by offering low fares and point-to-point transit, among other innovative features. Kelleher’s commitment to providing exceptional customer service and creating a positive company culture contributed to the immense success of Southwest Airlines.
Early life and education
Herbert Kelleher was born on March 12, 1931, in Camden, New Jersey, and grew up in the borough of Audubon. He attended Haddon Heights High School before pursuing higher education at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Kelleher graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and went on to earn his JD from the New York University School of Law.
Career Beginnings in Law
After completing his legal studies, Kelleher initially worked as a law clerk for a New Jersey Supreme Court justice. He then ventured to Texas with the ambition of establishing his own law firm. In 1969, Kelleher became a partner in Oppenheimer, Rosenberg, Kelleher & Wheatley, where he further honed his exceptional legal skills.
Southwest Airlines Founding
In 1966, Kelleher, along with businessman Rollin King, founded the concept that would later become Southwest Airlines. Originally, their plan focused on providing low-cost air service to connect the Texas Triangle. The company was incorporated as Air Southwest Co. in 1967. Despite facing legal challenges from competitors who opposed their strategy of offering low fares within Texas, Kelleher and King persevered.
Their determination led to various lawsuits, which were ultimately resolved in the early 197s in both the US Supreme Court and the Texas Supreme Court. In 1971, the company was officially rebranded as Southwest Airlines and began its first intrastate flights between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
Southwest Airlines Success
Under Kelleher’s leadership, Southwest Airlines expanded its reach to additional cities in Texas in 1975 and started serving adjacent states in 1979. Kelleher assumed the role of Chairman of the Board while continuing to guide the company towards unprecedented success. In 1981, he was appointed as CEO and president.
Southwest Airlines thrived under Kelleher’s strategic decisions, which included offering affordable fares, utilizing a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, and implementing a point-to-point transit system. The company’s commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences earned it consistent recognition as one of America’s most admired corporations by Fortune magazine.
In 2001, after two decades at the helm as CEO and president, Kelleher stepped down from his executive positions, but continued to serve as chairman emeritus. He remained actively involved with Southwest Airlines until his passing in 2019.
During his remarkable career, Herb Kelleher received numerous accolades and honors for his contributions to the business and aviation industries. Among his notable achievements, Kelleher was awarded the Tony Jannus Award for outstanding leadership in the commercial aviation industry, the Bower Award for business leadership, and the L. Welch Pogue Award for Lifetime Achievement in Aviation.
His impact on the airline industry was further recognized with inductions into prestigious halls of fame, including the Texas Business Hall of Fame, the National Aviation Hall of Fame, and the International Air & Space Hall of Fame in San Diego, California.
Personal Life and Death
Hailing from his college days, Herb Kelleher’s personal life was intertwined with his professional journey. He met his wife, Joan Negley, on a blind date when they were both students. Joan was the one who introduced Kelleher to Texas. The couple had four children named Julie, Michael, David, and Ruth. Their unwavering support and love served as pillars of strength throughout Kelleher’s illustrious career.
Despite facing personal health challenges, Kelleher tackled them with resilience. In 1999, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which he successfully underwent treatment for. Unfortunately, Herb Kelleher passed away in early 2019 at the age of [age at the time of his death]. His legacy as a game-changer in the aviation industry and a beloved leader at Southwest Airlines continues to inspire many.
Herb Kelleher’s contributions to the world of aviation and business will always be remembered. His visionary approach towards customer service and commitment to excellence propelled Southwest Airlines to unprecedented heights. Today, Southwest Airlines remains a testament to his enduring legacy, connecting travelers to more than 100 destinations across the US, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.