Southwest CEO refuses to resign as second investor raises leadership doubts

The FAA has mandated that the Boeing 737NG engine nacelle would be redesigned and retroffited by July 2028
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The CEO of Southwest Airlines, Robert Jordan, has said that he will not resign despite a second investor raising further doubts over the US carrier’s leadership and strategy. 

Jordan has been under pressure since new investor Elliott Investment Management sent a letter to the Dallas-based airline’s board of directors on June 10, 2024, criticizing the way the airline had been managed in recent years. 

According to Associated Press, on June 13, 2024, a second investor, Artisan Partners, said it had raised similar concerns with Southwest Airlines.  

In a letter sent to Southwest, two investors at Artisan Partners urged the carrier to “reconstitute itself and upgrade the company’s leadership” and believes that the process should “commence immediately”. 

However, while speaking to journalists after a Politico event in Washington Jordan said he had “no plans to resign”. 

“We’ve got an investor day in September, and I’m eager to lay out a very broad plan for how we improve the company both from a customer perspective but from a financial perspective,” Jordan said. 

He added: “Elliott can provide us ideas. They can talk to other shareholders, but Elliott is not directing the company.” 

Elliot holds a $1.9 billion equity position in the airline, equivalent to nearly 11%, while Artisan Partners owns 1.8%. 

Elliot expressed concerns that Southwest Airlines was falling behind its industry peers in critical areas such as IT systems setup, the exploitation of revenue generation opportunities and its operational efficiency.    

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