Gary C. Kelly is the chief executive officer and chairman of Southwest Airlines. He first joined the company in 1986 as Controller. In 1989, Gary was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance. In 2001, he was promoted to Executive Vice President. Kelly spent 3 years in this role until he was promoted to his current position as CEO and vice chairman in 2004 replacing James Parker who succeeded Herb Kelleher in 2001. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from The University of Texas at Austin and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Kelly was named Chairman of the Board of Directors of Southwest Airlines on May 21, 2008, replacing co-founder Herb Kelleher. Gary Kelly also became president of Southwest Airlines the same year, replacing Colleen Barrett when her contract expired on July 15, 2008. 
Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) is a major U.S. airline and the world's largest low-cost carrier, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The airline was established in 1967 and adopted their current name in 1971. The airline has 44,831 employees as of December 2013 and operates more than 3,400 flights per day. As of June 5, 2011, it carries the most domestic passengers of any U.S. airline. As of January 2014, Southwest Airlines has scheduled service to 89 destinations in 42 states and Puerto Rico.
Southwest Airlines has solely operated Boeing 737s, except for a few years in the 1970s and 1980s, when they operated a few Boeing 727s. As of August 2012, Southwest is the largest operator of the 737 worldwide with over 550 in service, each operating an average of six flights per day. In May 2011, Southwest acquired AirTran Airways, with integration of the carriers expected to be complete by 2014.On March 1, 2012, the company was issued a single operating certificate, technically becoming one airline.