Bill Ayer will retire after a decade as chief executive officer of SeaTac’s Alaska Air Group on May 15 but will retain his title as chairman of the airline holding company, Alaska Air Group announced Thursday.
Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines’ president will replace him. Alaska Air Group is the parent company of Alaska Airlines and regional carrier Horizon Air. Tilden will continue serving as Alaska Airlines president.
Tilden joined Alaska in 1991 from Price Waterhouse. He became the air group’s chief financial officer in 2000. He was promoted to executive vice president of planning and finance in 2007 and assumed the leadership of Alaska Airlines in 2008. He is 51.
Ayer, 57, is a pilot who joined the airline holding company three decades ago. He replaced John Kelly as chief executive of the holding company in 2002 and became chairman the following year.
Ayer is joining the University of Washington Board of Regents, is chairman of the Puget Sound Energy board and serves on the University of Washington Foster School of Business Advisory Board. He is a director of Angel Flight West and the Museum of Flight.
Ayer was the subject of a laudatory profile earlier this month in The Wall Street Journal.
Under his and Tilden’s guidance, Alaska Airlines has become consistently profitable and has won honors for its timely arrivals and customer service. Alaska is the only one of the major traditional airlines not to have filed for bankruptcy after the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001.
The transition to the new leadership will occur at the air group’s annual meeting May 15.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663 email@example.com