Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) has appointed aviation industry veteran Rakesh Gangwal to its board of directors, responding to increasing pressure from activist investor Elliott.

Gangwal, co-founder of InterGlobe Aviation, the operator of India's largest airline IndiGo, also has experience on the boards of US Airways Group, CarMax, and Office Depot.

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

Elliott Investment Management, which owns an 11% stake in Southwest, had called for a reconstitution of the board with independent directors knowledgeable in airlines, customer experience, and technology.

The activist investor also pushed for a leadership change, citing disappointing financial results from the carrier.

In a defensive move against Elliott's pressure, Southwest adopted a "poison pill" strategy last week, a tactic used by corporate boards to prevent hostile takeover attempts.

This strategy aims to deter Elliott from increasing its stake in the company.