Southwest Airlines will have some pretty big GC shoes to fill in 2013. The airline’s Vice President and General Counsel Madeleine Johnson announced yesterday she will be retiring from the company for which she’s worked for the past five years.

Johnson joined Southwest in 2008, after a celebrated career in law working for the city of Dallas and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

Read more about Johnson’s career and her time at Southwest.

“Madeleine has been a joy to work with, a ferocious protector of Southwest, and someone who has made incredible contributions to the success of our airline in her relatively short tenure,” Southwest EVP and chief legal and regulatory officer Ron Ricks said in a statement.

As for filling those shoes, Southwest doesn’t have far to look. The company said Mark Shaw, Southwest’s associate general counsel of corporate & transactions, will take over as GC.

“I have great confidence in Mark’s abilities and his character as a Leader,” Ricks said. “This will be a seamless transition given his history with Southwest and with his colleagues in the General Counsel Department.”

Johnson’s retirement will be effective Feb. 1, 2013, when Shaw will take over the role.

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