Incumbents re-elected at Sealaska

Four board members retain seats following shareholders' meeting

Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Sealaska shareholders returned four incumbents to the company's board of directors at an annual meeting Saturday at Craig High School.

Shareholders re-elected Anchorage attorney Patrick Anderson, Ketchikan boat operator and businessman Joseph Demmert Jr., Kake commercial fisherman and charter-boat operator Clarence Jackson Sr., and Jacqueline Johnson of Fairfax, Va., executive director of the National Congress of American Indians.

The four will serve three-year terms on the 13-member board. Sealaska is Southeast Alaska's regional Native corporation.

The meeting included a report from President and CEO Chris McNeil Jr., who replaced Bob Loescher this year. Sealaska recorded a net loss of $122 million on revenues of $72 million in 2000, the company's first loss in 18 years. Sealaska laid off 12 employees from a staff of about 100 this spring.

The company made dividend and distribution payments totaling $8 million to its 16,500 shareholders last year.

Board members and staff also met with shareholders about the company's fiscal situation at a series of 13 community meetings this spring. Jackson said the company has made an effort to keep shareholders informed.

"It's a difficult time for Sealaska in business operations," he said. "But it's interesting. Difficult times can sometimes bring more opportunities. I think people see that Sealaska is still a strong company."

Anderson said the company highlighted new investments with the San Pasqual Band of Indians in Indian gaming and telecommunication ventures at the meeting.

"Prospects look good. We're focusing on stabilization this year," he said.

The company is making efforts to pull out of unprofitable TriQuest precision plastics operations and a limestone mine on Prince of Wales Island. McNeil said new investments plus the company's timber operations offer opportunities.

"We're repositioning Sealaska for the future. We are more focused on a range of investments," he said.

McNeil said he doesn't foresee future layoffs at the company. Subsistence and the corporation's scholarship program also were discussed at the meeting, he said.

Sealaska board members re-elected Albert Kookesh of Angoon as chairman and Rosita Worl of Juneau as vice chairwoman. No changes were made in the company's corporate officers.

The four incumbents re-elected were on the board slate of candidates. Other nominees were Rick Breseman of Snohomish, Wash., James Brouillette Jr. of Haines, Teresa Reyes-Germain of Juneau, Thomas Harris of Anchorage, Yaan Yaan Eesh - William Micklin of San Francisco, and Loretta Wallin of Juneau. Vote totals were not made public.

About 300 people attended the meeting and more than 71 percent of shareholders voted by proxy or in person, according to the company. No resolutions were voted on at the meeting.

Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.



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