Southwest Airlines President To Receive McLane Leadership In Business Award

The Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, will honor Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of Southwest Airlines, with the 2013 McLane Leadership in Business Award on Thursday, Sept. 26.  The event will be held at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at 5:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public; however, reservations are recommended to ensure seating.

Gary C. Kelly

Gary C. Kelly

The Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service was founded in October 2009 to produce policy-oriented research in trade, energy, and good governance.   The Mosbacher Institute annually confers the McLane Leadership in Business Award, established by Drayton McLane, Jr., a noted entrepreneur and chairman of the McLane Group, a high technology firm.   The McLane Leadership in Business Award recognizes a prominent individual in the field of business for outstanding contributions in the area of business, public service, or community service at the national level. The award highlights different roles that business plays in maintaining the economic, political, and social vitality of our nation.

Under Kelly’s leadership, Southwest Airlines has grown into the nation’s largest domestic airline in terms of originating domestic passengers and is the undisputed low-fare leader.   Southwest Airlines is celebrating 40 years of consecutive profitability and was named #1 in Customer Service by the 2013 Airline Quality Rankings.   Fortune magazine consistently lists Southwest Airlines among the world’s most admired corporations, ranking it seventh in 2013.

Kelly began his career at Southwest Airlines as controller and held several increasingly responsible leadership positions before being promoted to CEO and vice chairman in July 2004.   He assumed the roles of chairman and president in 2008.   Prior to joining Southwest Airlines in 1986, Kelly was a CPA for Arthur Young & Company in Dallas and controller for Systems Center, Inc.

Kelly has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being named one of Business Travel News’ 25 Most Influential Executives of 2004; named a finalist for Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News editors for the year 2005; named one of the best CEOs in America for 2008, 2009, and 2010 by Institutional Investor magazine; awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award by B’nai B’rith in 2010; honored by the Texas Exes’ with the Distinguished Alumnus Award; and selected as Dallas Business Journal’s CEO of the year for 2011.

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin and is a certified public accountant.   He serves on the McCombs School Advisory Council at the University of Texas at Austin, was named to the Lincoln National Corporation’s Board of Directors, and serves as chairman of Airlines for America.

Seats for Kelly’s lecture and the award presentation must be reserved by Sept. 23 by e-mailing the institute at or by calling (979) 845-1927.

Media contact Jennifer Moore  at (979) 845-1532


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