Four Sealaska board members re-elected

Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2002

The Sealaska Corp. returned four incumbent candidates to the 13-member board of directors at its 30th annual shareholders meeting Saturday at Centennial Hall.

With more than 70 percent of shareholders voting, they elected Gordon James Sr. of Craig and Byron Mallott, Edward Thomas and Rosita Worl of Juneau.

Board members re-elected Albert Kookesh as chairman, Chris E. McNeil, Jr. as Sealaska president and CEO, Worl as vice chairperson, William Stafford as executive vice president and chief financial officer, Richard Harris as senior vice president of natural resources, Ross Soboleff as vice president of communications, Maxine Richert as corporate secretary, and Patrick Duke as treasurer and chief investment officer.

Sealaska is the regional Native corporation representing Southeast Natives of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian descent. The corporation represents 16,500 people across Alaska and in the Lower 48, about 2,400 of whom live in Juneau.

"This was a successful annual meeting at a pivotal time for this company, and I think our presentation and discussion helped our shareholders understand our new strategic directions, and most importantly, see that we are past a very difficult point in our company's history," McNeil said in a prepared statement.

Sealaska reported a net loss of $21 million on revenues of $146 million for the 2001 calendar year. Dividend payments to shareholders totaled about $1 million - about $1 a share.

Dividends totaled about $8 million in the 2000 calendar year. That year the corporation experienced a net loss of $122 million on revenues of $72 million, prompting it to lay off 12 employees.

Sealaska spokesman Ross Soboleff said the company received no earnings from its investment funds this year, and added it still is waiting for repayment of a loan by an Indian-owned casino in Escondido, Calif.

McNeil reported at Saturday's meeting that the company saw positive returns in its timber, telecommunications and natural resources operations.

It also operates a plastics company in Guadalajara, Mexico, in partnership with Nypro Inc.

Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at

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