Alaska Air Group announces senior leadership advancements to position Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air for future growth

Alaska Air Group
Gary Beck

Alaska Air Group announced today three key leadership advancements to position Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air for future growth and success: Ben Minicucci, as president of Alaska, will be responsible for all commercial and operational duties including rollout and execution of the company's strategic plan; Gary Beck becomes Alaska's executive vice president and chief operating officer; and Joe Sprague returns to Air Group in the role of president of Horizon. All appointments are effective immediately.

"Together, these talented executives bring more than four decades of expertise working across a wide variety of divisions at Air Group," said Brad Tilden, chairman and CEO of Alaska Air Group. "We've doubled in size in just the past five years. Their experience and leadership abilities will be crucial as we continue to grow and navigate new opportunities and challenges."

As president of Alaska, Minicucci is responsible for both operations and commercial functions, and will execute on the company's strategic plan including a focus on Alaska's network, flight schedule, sales, revenue management, safety and operations, marketing and real estate. He has served in various roles of increasing responsibility since joining Alaska in 2004 as staff vice president of maintenance. Minicucci was promoted to president and chief operating officer in 2016. Since 2017, he has led Alaska's integration with Virgin America, which is nearly complete.

"These new responsibilities are a natural step forward for Ben," said Tilden. "He is driven to succeed, and committed to getting it right – whether it's maintaining a strong safety record, improving our operational performance, or making sure our guests have a great experience."

Beck returns to Alaska as executive vice president and chief operating officer, responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations on the ground and in the air. For the last two years, he has served as president and chief executive officer of Horizon, Alaska's regional partner. Prior to that tenure, he was vice president of Alaska's flight operations division from 2008 to 2015. Beck will report directly to Minicucci.

"We're fortunate to welcome Gary back to Alaska. He's a proven, trusted leader with decades of airline experience who will be dedicated solely to our operational safety and success as we grow Alaska," said Minicucci. "Gary's commitment to safety and to people – along with his energy – will be an asset as we continue to build on our foundation of operational rigor."

With Beck's move back to Alaska, Joe Sprague has been elected the new president of Horizon. Sprague is an admired, highly capable veteran of Alaska Air Group who will continue the forward momentum for the airline. He will report directly to Tilden. Sprague retired from Alaska in 2017 after serving at the company for 17 years in a variety of leadership positions, including senior vice president of external relations, vice president of marketing and vice president of Alaska Air Cargo.

"Joe has a passion for Air Group and for the airline industry," said Tilden. "He has a great respect for all the accomplishments being made by Horizon and its employees, and a well-grounded appreciation of the importance of Horizon's partnership with Alaska to provide outstanding service to all of our guests."