James F. Parker, CEO and vice chairman of the board of Southwest Airlines from 2001 through 2004, will deliver the Richard P. Gifford Lecture in Business Ethics on October 17 at 7 p.m. in the Hall Campus Center Memorial Ballroom. The lecture is free and open to the public.
In his talk, Doing the Right Thing, Parker will discuss the impact of organizational culture and values on corporate profitability.
Under his leadership, Southwest Airlines was named one of America’s three most admired companies, one of America’s 100 best corporate citizens, and one of the world’s most socially responsible companies.
In the wake of 9/11, Southwest Airlines was faced with a disastrous situation that threatened to ruin the entire airline industry. Southwest Airlines made three pivotal decisions: no layoffs, no pay cuts, and no-hassle refunds for any customer wanting them. The airline remained profitable and was the only major airline to protect the jobs of all its employees.
In his new book, Do the Right Thing, Parker offers personal insights into the Southwest Airlines culture. He is a member of the MIT Leadership Center Advisory Council at the MIT Sloan School of Management. A lawyer by trade, he spent fifteen years as General Counsel of Southwest Airlines before being selected to lead the company. He is currently a member of the board of directors of Texas Roadhouse, Inc.
While on campus, Parker will meet informally with SOBE students to discuss a variety of topics, including business ethics and the impact of 9/11 on the airline industry.