IndiGo co-founder Gangwal to join US airline Southwest's board
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IndiGo co-founder Gangwal to join US airline Southwest's board

By Reuters

  • 08 Jul 2024
IndiGo co-founder Gangwal to join US airline Southwest's board
A Southwest aircraft takes off from Las Vegas International Airport. | Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

Southwest Airlines has appointed aviation industry veteran Rakesh Gangwal to its board of directors, it said on Monday, as increasing pressure from activist investor Elliott pushes the U.S. budget carrier to take defensive measures.

Gangwal — who co-founded InterGlobe Aviation, the operator of India's largest airline IndiGo — has also served on the boards of US Airways Group, CarMax and Office Depot, among others.

"Rakesh's expertise in travel technology will be valuable as we continue to make investments that support our operations and strategic initiatives," said Gary Kelly, executive chairman of Southwest's board.

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Elliott, known for pushing for a change to boost shareholder returns, had called for a reconstitution of Southwest's board with "new, truly independent" directors possessing expertise in airlines, customer experience and technology.

The activist investor had also called for a leadership change citing Southwest's disappointing financial results.

Last week, Southwest adopted a "poison pill" strategy, used by corporate boards to thwart hostile takeover bids, to deter Elliott Investment Management from raising its stake in the carrier.

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Elliott currently owns an 11% stake in the company.

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