Mon. Mar 27th, 2023

Dallas-based Southwest Airways has a brand new know-how chief, Lauren Woods, in a transfer already deliberate earlier than the corporate got here below fireplace for a vacation meltdown in December, the corporate mentioned Wednesday.

Associated:Southwest Airways leaders defend tech, schedules and staffing after vacation meltdown

Woods replaces senior vice chairman and chief info officer Kathleen Merrill, who determined to retire in December and transfer into an govt adviser function. Merrill had been within the job since 2017 and with the provider since 2004.

CEO Bob Jordan had beforehand launched Woods because the incoming chief info officer, however the firm had not formally introduced the management change.

Associated:Southwest Airways CEO Bob Jordan talks concerning the vacation meltdown and what comes subsequent

“Lauren’s huge expertise has ready her nicely for this necessary function, as she’s constructed a stellar status for being an modern and transformational chief in our know-how division and all through the corporate,” Jordan mentioned in an announcement.

Southwest Airways senior vice chairman and chief info officer Lauren Woods.(Southwest Airways)

Woods can have a key function within the firm as Southwest tries to improve its know-how programs after canceling 16,700 flights in December.

An enormous winter storm and shortcomings in its crew scheduling software program left the corporate unable to trace pilots and flight attendants. It hampered operations for greater than per week, lastly forcing the provider to close down about two-thirds of its operations to reset.

The corporate initially mentioned its crew scheduling software program, supplied by GE Digital, was overmatched however has since cited climate as the first offender.

Both means, Jordan mentioned the corporate is planning to speed up know-how initiatives to verify this type of breakdown doesn’t occur once more. The meltdown price the corporate $800 million and swung it to a fourth-quarter loss, with one other $250 million to $350 million hit more likely to come within the first quarter.

Southwest spends about $1 billion a yr on know-how infrastructure and is planning to spend about $1.3 billion this yr, not together with in-flight upgrades reminiscent of higher wi-fi web and energy shops in seats of incoming jets.

Associated:DOT investigating if ‘unrealistic scheduling’ at Southwest Airways led to meltdown

Woods has been with Southwest for 13 years and has been concerned in a number of the firm’s key know-how initiatives throughout that point, together with integrating the AirTran acquisition and bringing in a brand new reservation system from Amadeus in 2017.

At Southwest, the chief know-how officer stories to Linda Rutherford, the corporate’s chief administration and communications officer.

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