The company also announced the deadline to apply for its president and CEO position, as Chris McNeil prepares to retire.
Kookesh, a former state lawmaker from Angoon, has been Sealaska chairman for 14 years. He plans to remain on the board, but says he wants to cut back on work and commitments.
Kookesh suffered a heart attack last March. In a message posted to Sealaska’s website Tuesday, he said he’s back to 100 percent, but the incident put a scare in him and his family.
“I want to be here to see my grandchildren grow up,” Kookesh said in the statement.
He said he was honored to have served longer than any other board chair in Sealaska history, and wants to continue to use his relationships in the Native and non-Native communities for the benefit of Sealaska and its shareholders.
Kookesh also decided not to run for reelection as co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives last year, another position he had held for 14 years.
McNeil announced his planned retirement in October after 12 years at the helm. At the time he said he hoped to have a successor named by March and that the actual transition would be made at the corporation’s annual meeting in June.
Sealaska is accepting applications for its next president and CEO through February 28th. The company’s board of directors has hired San Francisco-based recruiting firm Egon Zehnder to help with the search.
According to another statement on Sealaska’s website, the successful candidate will be a company shareholder and reside in Juneau, where Sealaska is headquartered. McNeil lives in Washington state and works in corporate offices in Bellevue.
- Gov. Bill Walker put a hold on an administrative order he issued in February, saying he needed more stakeholder feedback.
- Hundreds of people gathered Thursday at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve to celebrate the opening of a newly completed Huna Tribal House and the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. But not everyone could make it. Tribal members and elected officials were stuck at the Juneau International Airport.
- "We’re all expecting to see this fiscal contraction and a reduction in economic indicators. But the reality is that what’s going on at the state level hasn’t hit the communities yet. It hasn’t hit Juneau yet," local analyst Meilani Schijvens says.
- Scattered throughout Alaska are hundreds of pieces of land that have been transferred to Alaska Native Corporations by the federal government.Some came with contamination. Getting them cleaned up has been a decades long process, and a new report catalogs those contaminated sites, but leaves some questions about who will orchestrate cleanup – and when.