Alaska Aerospace could get a new CEO soon

Alaska Aerospace has gone without permanent leadership for most of the past year but could announce a new chief executive officer soon. 

Alaska Aerospace runs the Pacific Spaceport Complex at the end of Kodiak’s road system. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

Alaska Senate President Gary Stevens is a non-voting member of the state-owned company’s board. He couldn’t give a name but said they’ve found a prospective candidate.

“The board has strong opinions that he’s the right person to run an organization like this,” Stevens said. “He’s the right person for Kodiak and so the board is quite comfortable with that.” 

It’s been a long road to find new leadership for the company. The previous CEO, Milton Keeter, resigned in March for unknown reasons. John Cramer has served as interim leadership since. 

According to a report from the Anchorage Daily News, the board approved one candidate in the fall, Sean Thomas, pending approval from Alaska’s governor, Mike Dunleavy. However earlier this month, Dunleavy refused to accept that candidate as the company’s president and CEO and later ousted the board’s chair, Robert McCoy. 

Stevens said it leaves the board in a tricky position to fill the vacancies. 

“One member of the board has to be from the geophysical institute in Fairbanks,” he said. “So that’s going to be a trick. The governor has to appoint that – he could appoint anyone who works for the geophysical institute – so we’ll see where that goes.” 

An appointment to the board would also be subject to approval from the state legislature. 

Dunleavy refused to comment on the situation at a press conference earlier this month, citing his administration’s personnel policy. A spokesperson for Alaska Aerospace also did not comment on the situation.

Stevens said while he believes the governor should not be able to reject the company’s staff, he hopes they can work together. 

“My goal is to work with the governor and so I think the best thing we can do is just let the board go ahead, hire this next fella, and get things moving at the rocket launch (site),” he said.

Stevens said the board is currently in salary and benefit negotiations with the new candidate and hopes to announce their hiring soon.

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