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Dave Ridley

Dave Ridley

Operating Partner – People and Leadership

Mr. Ridley retired from Southwest Airlines in January of 2015, after a twenty-seven year career. During this period he served as a senior executive in a variety of operational, commercial, and staff functions including SVP Chief Marketing Officer, SVP People and Leadership Development, SVP Business Development, and VP of Ground (Airport) Operations. From 1988 until his retirement, he was a member of the Executive Committee, and the CEO’s staff responsible for strategy and corporate policy. During his career at Southwest, the Company grew from a $700 million in revenue regional airline flying to 26 U.S.cities to become the largest domestic airline in the United States with $20 billion in revenue, now flying to 97 cities in 40 states, Mexico and the Caribbean. Southwest is the only airline in the world to generate a profit every year for the past 43 years, and it consistently ranks in FORTUNE’s Top 10 Most Admired Companies in the world. Its unique culture is well known and recognized as a reason why Southwest is generally regarded as one of the best corporations to work for in the world. Mr. Ridley has provided key note speeches and consulted with organizations across the world sharing lessons learned in his career at Southwest regarding building a world class brand based on service excellence, the type of leadership required to do so, and the importance of a healthy corporate culture in sustaining it. He currently serves on the Board of the Erwin Center for Brand Communication at Clemson University. A native Texan, Mr. Ridley earned his BBA in the Honors Business Program at the University of Texas at Austin in 1975 and received his MBA at Southern Methodist University in 1981. Prior to joining Southwest in 1988, he worked in marketing and business development capacities with several Dallas area companies. 

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