Linda Rutherford is the Chief Administration Officer for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest airline in terms of domestic Customer boardings. Linda is known for creating and leading powerful teams that equip, empower, and engage the business to serve its People and Customers. In her role, she provides executive leadership for Culture & Communications, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Internal Audit, People (Human Resources), Talent and Leadership Development, Total Rewards, Technology, Southwest Airlines University, and Artificial Intelligence & Data Transformation. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines in 1992, she began her career with Newsweek magazine in New York and was a journalist in the Dallas area, including working for the Dallas Times Herald.

Linda has a passion for education. She has shared her experience with today’s youth by serving as an adjunct instructor for undergraduate courses at universities throughout the country. Regarded as an expert in her field, she also authored the foreword for The ROI of LOL (2023), a chapter in Culture Built My Brand (2021), the foreword for Business Acumen for Strategic Communicators (2020), and a chapter in Mastering Business for Strategic Communicators (released December 2017).

Linda believes in giving back to the community and does so through her participation in professional organizations and through service on advisory boards. She has dedicated her time to countless organizations including: The Make-A-Wish Foundation (current board member); Arthur W. Page Society (current Trustee and co-chair of the Belong and Connect Subcommittee); Texas Tech University President’s Search Committee (2016); Texas Tech College of Media & Communications National Advisory Board (current member); and the Institute for Public Relations Board of Trustees (IPR) (current Trustee and past chair). 

In 2022, Linda joined San Antonio based Frost Bank’s Board of Directors. She currently serves on the Audit; Compensation and Benefits; and Corporate Governance Committees.

Linda has been honored for her leadership excellence and her achievements in communications and civic involvement. Some of her recognitions include: 2023 Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service; 2023 PRWeek Women of Distinction; 2022 IPR Lifetime Achievement Award; 2022 Top Women in Business, National’s Women’s Conference; 2021 Distinguished Alumni, Texas Tech Alumni Association; 2017 Citizen of the Year, Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce; 2016 Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year; 2016 PR Week named one of 36 Women Champions of PR; 2012 inductee into the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame; 2009 inductee in to the Texas Tech College of Mass Communications Hall of Fame; and 2008 inductee into PR News’ Public Relations Hall of Fame.

Linda graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is married to Michael, and together they are proud parents to Allison, a public health graduate student at Tulane University; and Matthew, a graduate of Rice University who works as a partnership marketing coordinator at a sports marketing agency in Houston. In her spare time, she and her husband enjoy tending to their community garden plots and traveling.