Alaska Airlines today announced the election of Jay Schaefer as vice president of finance and treasurer, and Ben Minicucci as vice president of Seattle operations.
As vice president of finance and treasurer, Schaefer will oversee Alaska Air Group’s financing and capital requirements, as well as the company’s investment, risk management, supply chain, fuel hedging and fleet and cash management programs. Alaska Air Group, based in Seattle, is the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.
“Jay is a sharp and dedicated professional who has been instrumental in building and maintaining our strong balance sheet and cash position. He’s also directed our successful fuel hedging strategy,” said Brad Tilden, Alaska Air Group’s executive vice president of finance and planning and chief financial officer. “As the industry grapples with record high fuel costs and an economic downturn, Jay’s experience is particularly valuable.”
Schaefer joined Alaska Airlines in 1998 as a cash manager and also has served as director of treasury operations. In March 2006, he became staff vice president of finance and treasurer. Prior to joining Alaska Airlines, Schaefer served as senior treasury analyst for Holy Cross Health System of South Bend, Ind.
Minicucci, previously staff vice president of Seattle operations, oversees systems and processes across all departments at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the largest hub for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Minicucci’s oversight includes customer service – airports, maintenance and engineering, flight operations, inflight and cargo, as well as other areas such as catering and fueling.
“Ben is a seasoned airline executive who possesses a rare blend of excellent technical and people skills,” said Glenn Johnson, Alaska Airlines’ executive vice president of airport services and maintenance and engineering. “Our customers and employees alike have benefitted from Ben’s deft leadership and vision. I’m delighted we’re promoting him.”
Minicucci joined Alaska Airlines in 2004 as staff vice president of maintenance and engineering, where he was responsible for line maintenance and all contract heavy aircraft and engine maintenance. Minicucci developed specific performance measures to drive process improvements and vendor accountability, a methodology he has implemented in his new role to improve the airline’s operational reliability.
Minicucci managed all aspects of aircraft maintenance while serving for 14 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. He then joined Air Canada and held several positions of increasing responsibility, including vice president of aircraft maintenance. In that role, Minicucci directed a staff of 2,000 employees and was responsible for most of the scheduled maintenance on the airline’s fleet of 200 aircraft.
Alaska Airlines also announced that Tom O’Grady, previously staff vice president of commercial and regulatory law, has been named chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel for Alaska Air Group. In his new role, O’Grady will oversee compliance with laws, regulations and policies covering all aspects of Alaska Air Group, including planning, operations, finance and human resources, among other areas.
“Tom has a distinguished record of achievements at Alaska,” said Keith Loveless, vice president of legal and corporate affairs and general counsel. “His proven success in working cross-divisionally has been instrumental in leading the company toward its goal of being number one in compliance. I’m very excited to see the organization recognize his contributions.”
After joining Alaska Airlines in 1987 as a staff lawyer, O’Grady has served in a variety of positions in the Legal Department, including staff vice president of labor relations and associate general counsel.
Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air together serve 93 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico.