127th Jackson Lecture Features Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines
The National Judicial College is pleased to present Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff International as the College’s 127th Jackson Lecturer on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 4 p.m. in the Tom C. Clark Auditorium.
Howard Putnam was raised on an Iowa farm and learned to fly out of a pasture in his father's J-3 Piper Cub. He entered the airline business as a baggage handler at Midway Airport in Chicago for Capital Airlines at age 17. Capital was soon merged into United, and Howard held thirteen different positions in sales, services and staff assignments in several cities, before being named Group Vice President of Marketing for United Airlines, the world's largest airline, in 1976.
In 1978 he was recruited to become President and CEO of fledgling Southwest Airlines in Dallas, TX. While at Southwest, Howard and his team tripled revenues and profitability in three years and also successfully guided Southwest through airline deregulation. Southwest was the first air carrier to order the Boeing 737-300, which later became the largest selling aircraft ever for Boeing.
Howard led the visioning process at Southwest as well as further developing the "fun" culture and excellent customer service that Southwest is still known for today. Southwest has been profitable every year for over thirty years, a record unsurpassed by any other airline.
In 1981, Howard was recruited by the board of directors of Braniff International to come aboard as CEO and save and/or restructure the financially failing airline. He was the first airline CEO to successfully take a major carrier into, through and out of chapter 11. Braniff flew again in 1984.
He is the author of "The Winds of Turbulence" on leadership and ethics. Harvard University wrote a case study on his experiences at Braniff, "The Ethics of Bankruptcy" as a model as to how to handle stakeholders in crisis. He has also been an entrepreneur, serving as Chairman of a startup investment company and two small manufacturing and distribution companies.
The National Judicial College’s Jackson Lecture honors Justice Robert H. Jackson who is best remembered for his role as America’s chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg War Trials. The NJC presents the Jackson Lecture as a part of the College’s General Jurisdiction course for newly elected or appointed judges.
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