DALLAS – Southwest Airlines CEO Robert Jordan’s compensation nearly doubled last year to $5.3 million after being promoted to the top job during a year that ended with massive flight cancellations that will cost Southwest more than $1 billion.
Southwest disclosed in a proxy filed Thursday that the estimated value of Jordan’s compensation rose from $3 million in 2021, when he was executive vice president.
In 2022, Jordan received stock awards valued at $3.6 million, $676,875 in salary, a $195,720 cash bonus and $782,880 in incentive compensation, plus retirement-plan benefits. The eventual value of the stock awards will depend on the company’s financial performance from 2022 through 2024.
A Southwest spokesman said Jordan's cash bonus would have been larger without the December disruptions because of lower scores for financial performance and customer-satisfaction, but the cancellations did not affect his other compensation.
A winter storm just before Christmas caused chaos across the airline industry, but Southwest took longer to recover than any of its rivals, as a crew-scheduling system was unable to keep up. The airline wound up canceling 16,700 flights in late December. The airline said the breakdown cost it about $800 million in lost revenue in the fourth quarter and up to $350 million more early this year.
Bonuses declined for three other executives listed in the proxy, but Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson — who, like Jordan, got promoted last year — got a larger bonus than in 2021.
Dallas-based Southwest earned $539 million last year despite a $220 million fourth-quarter loss. It posted record revenue of $23.8 billion and retained its investment-grade credit ratings.
Jordan has apologized several times for the holiday meltdown. The airline has announced steps to avoid a repeat, including adding more deicing equipment and staff at key airports and improving its crew-scheduling technology.