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Alaska Air Group Announces Management Appointments

01/12/2010 11:02

SEATTLE, (PRNewswire-FirstCal/ Alaska Air Group, the holding company for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, today announced a new vice president at Horizon Air, as well as personnel changes in the company's Corporate Real Estate, Finance/Investor Relations, Marketing/Communications and Security/Compliance departments.

Horizon Air

Gene Hahn was named senior vice president of operations for Horizon Air, overseeing the flight operations and maintenance and engineering divisions. Hahn previously served as vice president of flight operations after a stint as vice president of maintenance and engineering. Before joining Horizon, Hahn worked at Middletown, Pa.-based Allegheny Airlines, a US Airways Express carrier, as vice president of maintenance and engineering. Hahn also worked at American Eagle/Wings West Airlines, where he held various positions of increasing responsibility, including director and then vice president of flight operations, director of flight training, and vice president of maintenance and engineering.
Hahn flew as a captain-qualified Saab 340 pilot and check airman for Wings West, a regional airline based in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Corporate Real Estate

Karen Gruen has been named managing director of corporate real estate for Alaska Airlines. She previously served as managing director of corporate affairs and associate general counsel. Gruen is a 13-year veteran of Alaska Airlines' Legal Division, having worked in the areas of commercial and regulatory law, general litigation, and labor and employment law. Before joining Alaska, she practiced employment and commercial law at a firm in Seattle. Gruen holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Michigan State University and a law degree from the University of Michigan. She recently completed an executive MBA at the University of Washington.

Corporate Affairs/Investor Relations/Finance

Shannon Alberts is replacing Gruen as managing director of corporate affairs for Alaska Air Group. A 25-year veteran of Alaska Airlines, Alberts began her career as an administrative assistant in corporate affairs and has since held positions ranging from director of corporate affairs to managing director of board and shareholder services. She most recently served as managing director of investor relations. Alberts earned a Certified Equity Professional certificate from the University of Santa Clara and completed the Investor Relations Certificate Program from the University of California. She also earned an executive MBA at the University of Washington.

Chris Berry replaces Alberts as managing director of investor relations for Alaska Air Group. Berry served as director of general accounting and financial reporting for the past six months, and director of financial reporting for five years prior to that. Before joining Alaska, Berry worked in public accounting for Arthur Andersen and KPMG. He holds an accounting degree from Northeast Louisiana University and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Additionally, George Newman has been named managing director of accounting and controller for Alaska Air Group. Newman returns to his roots in accounting after previously serving as the airline's director of supply chain management and strategic planning. Newman also served for five years as director of general accounting and as a consultant on Alaska Airlines' Sarbanes-Oxley implementation project. Before joining the airline, Newman was controller and CFO for Garden Botanika, Pacific Linen and a major shoe retailer. He also worked at one of the Big 4 global accounting firms. Newman is a CPA and graduate of Ohio University.

Marketing/Corporate Communications

Caroline Boren has been named managing director of loyalty marketing and customer advocacy at Alaska Airlines, with responsibility for the carrier's Mileage Plan, Visa credit card, Board Room airport lounges, and customer advocacy and research functions. She previously served as managing director of strategic and corporate communications. Prior to Alaska, Boren was a vice president at public relations consultant Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, where she advised clients including Microsoft and Texas Instruments. Boren is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern California and also recently earned an executive MBA from the University of Washington.


Paul McElroy is replacing Boren as managing director of strategic and corporate communications at Alaska Airlines. He previously served as director of corporate communications, overseeing the airline's employee communications. A veteran journalist, McElroy worked at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Chicago Sun-Times before joining Alaska. He has also written several books, including "Against the Wind: The History of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association" and "Tracon," a novel about controllers and the airborne collision avoidance system called TCAS. McElroy earned a bachelor's degree from Loyola University of Chicago.

Curtis Kopf has joined Alaska Airlines as managing director of and customer innovation. Kopf has more than 20 years of experience leading communications efforts, e-commerce programs and successful teams at other companies. He comes to the airline from Microsoft, where he was responsible for 12 global websites. He's also held senior positions in e-commerce site management and merchandising at Microsoft and spent several years in a similar capacity at Amazon. Kopf earned a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's from Johns Hopkins University.


Aileen Cronin has been named managing director of privacy, security and associate general counsel. She'll also assume responsibility for overseeing the company's environmental affairs and business continuity programs. Cronin previously led the company's data privacy, corporate security and records management programs. A 12-year employee of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, Cronin earned a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of California in San Diego and a law degree from Gonzaga University.

Wendy Jones was named chief risk, compliance and ethics officer for Alaska Air Group. Jones is a five-year veteran of Air Group who previously served as managing director of audit programs, responsible for supervising the company's internal audit and internal evaluation programs. Before joining Alaska, Jones worked in public accounting for Ernst & Young as well as in internal auditing for McKesson Corp. and Cott Beverages. She also served in senior finance roles for two Dallas-based technology companies. Jones is a graduate of Gonzaga University, where she earned a degree in accounting.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008, 2009 and 2010 North America Airline Satisfaction Studies(SM). For reservations, visit For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at

SOURCE Alaska Air Group

CONTACT: Bobbie Egan, +1-206-392-5134, or Jen Boyer, +1-206-392-0296

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