Another CEO change at Pinnacle with Spanjers to replace Menke

Less than a year after taking up the post, Sean Menke has decided to step down as Pinnacle Airlines Corporation’s CEO on 1 June, to be replaced by chief operating officer John Spanjers, the former president of Mesaba Aviation who took up his current role in September 2011.

Menke will work closely with Spanjers and the other members of Pinnacle’s leadership team to support a seamless transition through to 1 June. Pinnacle says it does not anticipate this transition affecting the timeline of the company’s Chapter 11 proceedings or Pinnacle’s ability to successfully restructure and emerge from Chapter 11.

“John brings a strong and proven track record of airline leadership,” remarked Donald Breeding, chairman of the Board of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation. “Given his prior Chapter 11 experience, John is particularly well-suited to lead Pinnacle’s ongoing turnaround efforts and has been actively involved in many of the key initiatives and negotiations during our restructuring process.”

“Pinnacle has very talented employees and a strong leadership team, and we remain focused on successfully emerging from Chapter 11,” confirmed Spanjers. “Our operating performance has remained strong since filing for Chapter 11 protection, and we expect that our operations, supported by committed employees, will continue moving forward.”

As of Menke’s departure on 1 June, Pinnacle expects to have achieved a number of important restructuring objectives during the initial 60 days of its Chapter 11 proceedings, including having: renegotiated key business agreements with Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and EDC; obtained final approval of its debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing; completed the Section 1110 aircraft process; received final court approval of its “First Day motions” to help the company continue to operate in the ordinary course; and, initiated a collegial and collaborative relationship with the Unsecured Creditors Committee and its advisors.

Additionally, the previously-announced search for a new chief financial officer is progressing.

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