Why Herb Kelleher’s Lousy at Retirement

IMG_1993Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines’ irrepressible co-founder and chairman emeritus, admits to being a failure at not working. “I still come into the office every day,” Kelleher (pictured) said last night during a reception at the Fairmont Dallas. “I do mostly long-term strategy–I’m not involved in the day-to-day operations anymore–but sometimes people ‘come in to see me.’ [Southwest executive] Ron Ricks once said that I’ve flunked retirement.”

Kelleher, who stepped down as Southwest CEO and president nearly a decade ago, was at the Fairmont to give the keynote address at a B’nai B’rith International dinner honoring Gary Kelly, Southwest’s current chairman, president and CEO. Why the honor from B’nai B’rith, the Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy group? “I think they’re very admiring of Southwest and Gary Kelly,” Kelleher said. “We’ve got a lot in common, like disaster relief and helping the community–from low fares to 37 years of consecutive profitability.”

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