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May 07, 2024

Southwest Airlines reveals legal leadership changes

Company to split top governance and legal role

Southwest Airlines has announced changes to its in-house legal and governance leadership, including splitting the top role.

According to the company, Mark Shaw, executive vice president, chief legal & regulatory officer and corporate secretary, has decided to move into an executive adviser role, effective June 1.

Given Shaw’s transition, Jason Van Eaton is being promoted from senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer to executive vice president and chief regulatory & corporate affairs officer, also effective June 1. In his new role, Van Eaton’s duties will include overseeing legislative and regulatory policy, airline-airport relationship management, facility construction and maintenance, corporate security and real estate planning.

At the same time, Jeff Novota, vice president for legal corporate & transactions matters, is being promoted to vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. In this new position, he will lead the company’s legal department to oversee all legal functions across areas such as corporate governance, securities, compliance, commercial transactions, labor and employment and litigation matters. He will also advise the company’s senior management committee and board.

Shaw joined Southwest almost 24 years ago. His work has included advising the company and its board on matters including the acquisition of AirTran Airways and parent AirTran Holdings and policy and regulatory issues during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as leading the legal aspects of multiple financings and the company’s participation in the Payroll Support Program under the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act.

Van Eaton joined Southwest in May 2015 and was named senior vice president & chief corporate affairs officer in 2018. Before moving to the company, he held positions in the US Senate for 13 years before founding a consulting services company that he managed for eight years.

Before moving to Southwest in 2011, Novota was an attorney with Vedder Price.

Southwest president and CEO Bob Jordan says in a statement: ‘We appreciate Mark’s many years of dedicated service at Southwest and we’re delighted he’ll continue to serve as an executive adviser. Mark’s trusted counsel and leadership helped us navigate many triumphs and challenges throughout his career.

‘As Jason and Jeff step into their new roles, the proven expertise and extensive experience they each possess, along with Mark’s continued guidance, will result in a seamless and successful transition.’


Ben Maiden

Ben Maiden is the editor-at-large of Governance Intelligence, an IR Media publication, having joined the company in December 2016. He is based in New York. Ben was previously managing editor of Compliance Reporter, covering regulatory and compliance...