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Southwest Airlines Executive Chairman to Step Down

Southwest Airlines said Thursday that Herb Kelleher would step down as executive chairman of the board of directors at the company's 2008 annual meeting of shareholders.

Kelleher, 76, is a founder of Southwest, the largest low-cost carrier, and has served as executive chairman since 1978. He also was president and chief executive from 1981 to 2001.

Southwest also said company president Colleen Barrett, 62, would step down from that position in 2008. Kelleher and Barrett are set to remain employed at the airline for five years, the company said.

Chief Executive Gary Kelly will remain in that position with a contract expiration date of February 1, 2011, Southwest said.

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