Southwest names Lauren Woods as CIO

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Southwest Airlines has promoted Lauren Woods to the position of chief information officer to help manage the airline’s technology upgrades following its system-wide operational meltdown in late 2022.

Woods has “led key initiatives across Southwest’s technology department” since joining the airline in 2010, Southwest Airlines said. She was previously the vice president of technology. She will now report to Linda Rutherford, Chief Administration & Communications Officer.

She is also deeply involved in the transformation of Southwest’s enterprise data platforms, which power the company’s data science, analytics, optimization, and system integration efforts. Woods earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Marketing from Cornell University.

”She established cloud infrastructure, creating a new development and delivery platform for complex application ecosystems,” Southwest says. Woods is set to play an important role in managing the airline’s technology investments, upgrades and system maintenance, which are expected to reach $1.3 billion this year.

Woods will succeed former CIO Kathleen Merrill, who will transition to an executive advisor role after nearly two decades with the airline. Merrill announced her retirement in September, according to the company.

The sources for this piece include an article in Axios.

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