Alaska Airlines board of directors named Charu Jain vice president and chief information officer (CIO) of Alaska Airlines and Chris Berry vice president of finance and controller of Alaska Airlines and Alaska Air Group.
Jain comes to the airline from IBM Global Business Services, where she led the team helping American Airlines integrate its IT systems. Prior to that she worked 20 years at United Airlines in progressive roles from programmer to senior managing director of airline operations technology and technology integration before leaving the company in 2012. As Alaska's CIO, Jain will lead a department of more than 400 information technology professionals.
"Charu's experience as both an airline executive and consultant is perfectly suited to help Air Group successfully integrate Virgin America from a technology standpoint," said Brandon Pedersen, Alaska Airlines executive vice president of finance and CFO. "Throughout her 24-year career, Charu has been able to blend thoughtful leadership with a focus on results and we're excited to have her onboard."
Berry joined Alaska Airlines in 2005 as director of financial reporting. He later was promoted to managing director of investor relations, and then to managing director of accounting and Alaska Air Group controller. In addition to his success as a financial leader, Berry championed several highly-acclaimed initiatives to deepen employee understanding of the financial aspects of the airline industry. Before joining Alaska, Berry worked in public accounting for Arthur Andersen and KPMG.
"Chris has done excellent work over the course of his career. He embodies our corporate leadership principles, especially his 'roll-up-your-sleeves' style of working with his team and unwavering integrity," said Pedersen. "His promotion reflects his outstanding achievements, and the new complexity of his role following our merger with Virgin America."
In addition, the company promoted two employees to managing director at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air:
Jennifer Thompson was named managing director commercial law, associate general counsel and assistant corporate secretary at Alaska Airlines. She will succeed Shannon Alberts, managing director of corporate affairs and corporate secretary, who announced plans to retire this summer. Thompson will serve in a combined corporate affairs/commercial law function overseeing corporate governance of the airline and its affiliates Horizon Air and Virgin America.
Thompson started her career with Alaska Air Group in 2001 as an employment coordinator for Horizon Air. She later served as a paralegal and then as an attorney and senior attorney. She has been Alaska Airlines associate general counsel and assistant corporate secretary since March of 2016.
Sana Gebarin was named managing director of strategy and project management at Horizon Air. She will be responsible for overseeing the airline's business strategy, communications, operations research analytics, project management, process improvement and facilities.
Gebarin joined Horizon in April 2015 as director of strategy planning and execution. Prior to that she served as manager of sales operations-Americas for TekComm, held positions in the marketing and engineering departments for American Airlines, and worked as a consultant engineer in the oil and gas industry.
Jain has a bachelor's degree in economics from Lucknow University in India and an MBA in International Management at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Berry holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Louisiana and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Thompson holds two bachelor's degrees from the University of Washington and a law degree from Seattle University. Gebarin holds a bachelor's in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University.
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