Dave Ridley

Senior Advisor to the CEO of Southwest Airlines

Dave Ridley

Dave Ridley

Dave Ridley is one of our most sought-after speakers on service excellence. He has a wealth of experience of advising and inspiring organisations from a cross-section of industries. His high-profile career in People and Leadership Development at Southwest Airlines makes him an authority on service excellence, leadership and culture.


Customer Centricity
Personal Leadership


Dave Ridley retired from Southwest Airlines in 2015 after a 27-year career. During this period, he served as a senior executive in a variety of operational, commercial, and staff functions including: SVP Chief Marketing Officer; SVP People and Leadership Development; SVP Business Development; and VP of Ground (Airport) Operations. From 1998 until his retirement, he served on the Executive Committee, the CEO’s staff responsible for strategy and corporate policy.​

During Dave’s time at Southwest (1988-2015), the company grew from a $700 million in revenue regional airline flying to 26 US cities, to become the largest domestic airline in the United States with nearly $20 billion in revenue, now flying to 103 cities in 40 states, Mexico and the Caribbean.

​Southwest is the only airline in the world to post a profit every year for the past 44 years and it consistently ranks in Fortune’s ‘Top 10 Most Admired Companies in the World’. Its unique culture is well-known and is why Southwest is generally regarded as being one of the best companies in the world to work for.

Dave is a highly experienced speaker, talking on service excellence, culture, customer centricity and personal leadership.