Senior Advisor to the CEO of Southwest Airlines
Dave is one of our most sought-after speakers. 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.
Dave Ridley biography
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 did a thorough job of understanding ADCB journey towards Service Excellence, where we were, and what our ambition is. Dave tailored his speech in line with ADCB’s Service Ambition and illustrated the service road map beautifully to the audience. His speech was a catalyst that has reignited our leaders passion for service excellence, which is clearly evidenced by the increase in the number of change initiatives that have been kicked off and successfully implemented since the event. Would definitely recommend Dave as a speaker to help put to the customers and the employees back at the top of the agenda where it always belongs."Ala'a Eraiqat Group Chief Executive Officer & Board Member Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
"The session you held with the senior management of Nissan Europe was probably the best I have ever experienced. Why do I say this? Simply because you delivered something you passionately believed in, resonating soundly through your many years of credible experience and underlined by a clear link to commercial performance. You didn’t spout consultancy theory; you just delivered a message you believed in. You certainly jarred everyone in my team to think again. It goes without saying the delivery was first class."Paul Willcox - Chairman of the Board and CEO, Nissan Europe
"Dave Ridley has been the only speaker I have seen that truly gets both what it means and what it takes to transform an organization culture to one that is employee and customer centric. His depth of ‘real-life’ insight is what separates Dave from the crowd and his recommendations are genuinely implementable. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from Dave Ridley – there is no one better."Mike Cunningham - Executive Vice President Head of Group Strategy & Change
"We weren’t quite sure how Dave would stack up to the “star power” of our previous keynotes (General Colin Powell; Jack Welch; Rudy Giuliani). Turns out, he was better…he’s been rated by our leaders as our best speaker yet! Dave’s warm and humble approach, backed up by his hands-on experience, knowledge and indisputable track record of success made him a credible source of inspiration who reinforced our message of being “people first” in a way that is both powerful and real."Tom Feeney - CEO and President, Safelite Group/Safelite Auto Glass
"Dave’s remarks at our Top 100 Executive retreat were so well received that we asked him to be the keynote at our annual Top Performers Awards Event in Cancun two months later. His passion for, and experience in, building and sustaining a world class service culture came through loud and clear. He is a compelling and authentic communicator."Tom Gartland - President, Avis/Budget North America