Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher dead at 87.

Nick

Well-Known Member
I don't work there so I don't know how much is intact from the Herb days and how much has changed, but one of my favorite corporate-themed quotes:

The business of business is people. Yesterday, today, and forever. And as among employees, shareholders, and customers, we decided our internal customers, our employees, came first. The synergy in our opinion is simple -- honor, respect, care for, protect and reward your employees regardless of title or position. And in turn, they will treat each other, and their external customers, in a warm, in a caring, and in a hospitable way. This causes external customers to return, thus bringing joy to shareholders.

Herb Kelleher
 

Burrito

I'll ask the stupid questions
If it weren't for a simple BWI-SDF trip on a brown tin mouse I wouldn't even be in the industry.

Thanks, Mr. Kelleher. This business wouldn't be home otherwise. Rest easy.
 
RIP, Herb.

Many of the SWA I've talked to over the past couple years have feared the passing of Kelleher and his influence on the company.

Folks at Kalitta seem to have similar, but even more poignant fears about the eventual changing of the guard there.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
RIP, Herb.

Many of the SWA I've talked to over the past couple years have feared the passing of Kelleher and his influence on the company.

Folks at Kalitta seem to have similar, but even more poignant fears about the eventual changing of the guard there.
Usually happens that way. Look what Michael Eisner did to Disney after ousting Roy Disney.

There is always some faction who believes that the old guard is Rigid and Inflexible and therefore needs to change for changes sake
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
He has no issue with Herb. Its Gary that he has issues with.
I work with a few former FL folks who didn’t mesh with the WN culture after the merger. They’re also people who would have never been hired by WN in the first place - not due to any fault of their own, just because they didn’t have personalities that aligned with the brand.

I don’t take the complaints of former FL folks too seriously. Gary and his family are good people.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
There is a giant mural on one of the walls at SWA HQ in Dallas.

It shows (and it was a publicity stunt) Herb arm-wrestling another airline CEO (can't remember who) to settle a dispute. In classic Herb fashion, he's got a glass of whiskey by his side and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, wearing a headband. He had cut off the long hair by then, but was still a rogue beloved by his employees. Here's a bit of story on it: In the '90s, two companies were using the same motto. They arm wrestled to see who got to keep it.

There is a book about the business philosophy at SWA that Herb championed, called "Nuts." It has been required reading for anyone who has ever worked for me.

I never tested the theory, but rumor had it that if you went up to Herb on a flight and introduced yourself, he'd buy you a Wild Turkey - his preferred brand - and give you a big smile and chat a while.

He'll be missed. Sorely.

The airline did start changing not long after GK took over. I kinda shrugged - it had to change because the world was changing, too, but there was a time when I was commuting a lot between Dallas and Houston, and riding that 45 minute flight in the rear-facing seat at happy hour was the highlight of mine and my 5 other seat mates' days. There wasn't any other airline experience like it; hell, in Texas, SWA never said they competed with other airlines - they competed with Greyhound. :)
 

bimmerphile

SuperCritical™ Member
There is a giant mural on one of the walls at SWA HQ in Dallas.

It shows (and it was a publicity stunt) Herb arm-wrestling another airline CEO (can't remember who) to settle a dispute. In classic Herb fashion, he's got a glass of whiskey by his side and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, wearing a headband. He had cut off the long hair by then, but was still a rogue beloved by his employees. Here's a bit of story on it: In the '90s, two companies were using the same motto. They arm wrestled to see who got to keep it.

There is a book about the business philosophy at SWA that Herb championed, called "Nuts." It has been required reading for anyone who has ever worked for me.

I never tested the theory, but rumor had it that if you went up to Herb on a flight and introduced yourself, he'd buy you a Wild Turkey - his preferred brand - and give you a big smile and chat a while.

He'll be missed. Sorely.

The airline did start changing not long after GK took over. I kinda shrugged - it had to change because the world was changing, too, but there was a time when I was commuting a lot between Dallas and Houston, and riding that 45 minute flight in the rear-facing seat at happy hour was the highlight of mine and my 5 other seat mates' days. There wasn't any other airline experience like it; hell, in Texas, SWA never said they competed with other airlines - they competed with Greyhound. :)
That video is hilarious.
"I didn't know there were any rules. I thought I could use guile!"
 
There is a giant mural on one of the walls at SWA HQ in Dallas.

It shows (and it was a publicity stunt) Herb arm-wrestling another airline CEO (can't remember who) to settle a dispute. In classic Herb fashion, he's got a glass of whiskey by his side and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, wearing a headband. He had cut off the long hair by then, but was still a rogue beloved by his employees. Here's a bit of story on it: In the '90s, two companies were using the same motto. They arm wrestled to see who got to keep it.

There is a book about the business philosophy at SWA that Herb championed, called "Nuts." It has been required reading for anyone who has ever worked for me.

I never tested the theory, but rumor had it that if you went up to Herb on a flight and introduced yourself, he'd buy you a Wild Turkey - his preferred brand - and give you a big smile and chat a while.

He'll be missed. Sorely.

The airline did start changing not long after GK took over. I kinda shrugged - it had to change because the world was changing, too, but there was a time when I was commuting a lot between Dallas and Houston, and riding that 45 minute flight in the rear-facing seat at happy hour was the highlight of mine and my 5 other seat mates' days. There wasn't any other airline experience like it; hell, in Texas, SWA never said they competed with other airlines - they competed with Greyhound. :)
Holy Mother of God!!!

You really needed to post this verbatim!

This is Herb's book right here! Eliminate HR. Fire the attorneys. Eff the fear and loathing and 20 foot deep layer of CYA molasses that currently envelops Earth. This is how human beings should interact!
---

Dear Mr. Kelleher:

We LOVE your new ads that use the clever, creative, effective "Plane Smart" theme! We can testify to its effectiveness since we've been using it in our own ads for a long time. In the true fun-loving spirit on which Southwest Airlines was founded, we challenge you to a duel to see who gets to keep "Plane Smart" — big ol' Southwest or little bitty Stevens. (Please — no lawyers!) We trust that you accept this challenge in the spirit intended. ... No litigiousness implied at all. We challenge you to a sleeves-up, best-two-out-of-three arm wrestling match between you and our chairman, at high noon on Monday, January 27, 1992...

Respectfully,
Stephen D. Townes
Executive Vice President
Stevens Aviation

P.S. Our chairman is a burly 38-year-old former weight lifter who can bench press a King Air — or something like that...

 
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killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
What do your employees do?
Don't have any direct reports any more, but in another life, I had a team of sales engineers - think of them as IT professionals - for a communications software company. Not the one I'm working for now.
 

WacoFan

Bigly
Herb generously supported a non-profit I am on the Board of here in Dallas. I would see him at times. I didn't know him well, but from the time I spent around him and conversations we have had he was an absolutely remarkable man who seems to be depicted publicly as he really was when cameras and the press weren't around. Just a great man and a huge loss.
 
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