Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK) has promoted 21-year company veteran, Brad Tilden, to chief executive, replacing Bill Ayer who will retire on May 15.
Tilden will remain president of Alaska Airlines where he is currently serving but will also head the company and its other subsidiary Horizon Air.
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Ayer, 57, will retire at the company’s annual shareholder meeting but will continue to serve as chairman of the board.
“Brad's engaging leadership style, strong values and seasoned judgment have helped to fundamentally transform our company as we've navigated through some of the toughest challenges in commercial aviation history," Ayer said. “The time is right to implement a succession plan that's been in the works for several years.”
The current chief has spent three decades at Air Group, including 10 years as CEO. He joined Horizon in 1982 and served in a variety of marketing, planning and operational positions at the regional carrier and later Alaska Airlines.
In addition to continuing his role as chairman, Ayer will also be a member of the NextGen Advisory Committee, a panel of aviation industry leaders that are working with the Federal Aviation Administration to modernize the country’s air traffic control system and improve efficiency.
Tiden, 51, joined Alaska from Price Waterhouse in 1991 and was promoted to Air’s chief financial officer in 2000, its executive vice president of planning and finance in 2007 and to president in 2008.
As president he oversaw the nation’s seventh-biggest airline, including its 9,500 employees and 119 aircraft.