Droubay to stay on as head of Goldbelt

President had announced plans to resign in April

Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gary Droubay, who helped guide Juneau's urban Native corporation from losses to profits, said Monday he will remain as Goldbelt's president and CEO for another three years.

Earlier this year, Droubay announced plans to resign in mid-April. He said he changed his mind after a Saturday meeting with the corporation's board of directors.

"Previously, I didn't think I had that support. That is why I had resigned. But now, based upon the subsequent meetings we have had, we came to an agreement to go forward," he said.

Droubay declined to discuss details of the agreement. How- ever, board member Randy Wanamaker said Droubay's annual salary would be $192,000. He was hired to head the company in early 2000 at a salary of $156,000.

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Droubay joined Goldbelt as chief financial officer in 1997.

He is credited with bringing the corporation back from serious financial problems resulting from soured investments in the tourist industry.

"He turned Goldbelt into a very profitable business again. In the business community, it is considered quite an accomplishment to be able to do that in just a few years," Wanamaker said.

Since Droubay was hired as president and CEO, a special dividend for elders and the corporation's scholarship program have been reinstated.

Shareholders also received their first dividend checks in years.

"The projection for 2007 is even more profitable," Wanamaker said.

The corporation's largest growing business enterprise is government contracts. Goldbelt is eligible for the contracts on a no-bid basis as part of a national minority-owned business development program. Droubay said he would ultimately like to see the corporation become a competitive bidder for all its government contracts.

Droubay said he had planned to resign because some members of the board did not agree with him on his contract's new terms.

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A recent Las Vegas conference of Indian-owned businesses involved in government contracts helped change minds, Wanamaker said. Board members there recognized the value of Droubay's business and political connections.

"A large part of it has to do with the Native companies that we formed back east, on his personal integrity and ethics with the partners that we hooked up with," said board Chairman Joe Kahklen.

Droubay wanted assurance that he was strongly backed by the board.

"He wanted full support, not just a simple majority," Wanamaker said. Kahklen would not say whether the vote was unanimous.

Besides developing its government contract business, Goldbelt is interested in developing land at Cascade Point, Hobart Bay and West Douglas, Droubay said.

The corporation also owns the Goldbelt Hotel, the Mount Roberts Tramway and the Seadrome docking facility in Juneau.

Goldbelt has approximately 3,200 shareholders, almost all of Alaska Native heritage.

The 272,200 shares of Goldbelt stock represent assets of approximately $62 million and more than 32,000 acres of land.

• Brittany Retherford can be reached at brittany.retherford@juneauempire.com.

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