Sun Country Airlines hires CEO
Stan Gadek joins the St. Paul, Minn.-based airline today as chief executive officer and president. He replaces Jay Salmen who has been serving as interim chief executive since last April when Shaun Nugent resigned for personal reasons. Salmen is also president of Petters Aviation. Holding company Petters Group Worldwide owns both Petters Aviation and Sun Country.
Gadek comes to Sun Country from AirTran where he held the position of senior vice president finance and chief financial officer since 2000. Gadek also worked as an executive at Northwest Airlines for 13 years.
"Stan brings us extensive airline experience with a low cost carrier and a disciplined leadership style which will be key to executing on our plan,” Sun Country’s Chairman Tom Petters said in a statement.
Privately held Sun Country Airlines has about 1,000 employees and serves more than 30 destinations in the United States.
WinmoEdge spoke to Sun Country’s
Vice President of Marketing Wendy Blackshaw for more details about Gadek’s role and the company’s marketing strategy.
“Mr. Gadek will evaluate everything Sun Country has done over the past year as well as plans for the coming year but it is too early to tell whether marketing will change,” according to Blackshaw. “The brand is strong in the Minneapolis market so the actual brand platform will probably not change.”
Sun Country uses an array of marketing channels. This summer’s new campaign will include television, radio, on-line, print, newspaper and guerilla marketing components, Blackshaw said. She declined to reveal the campaign’s theme.
“We award work on a project basis and have used many different agencies, designers and consultants,” she said.
Blackshaw said she is planned out for 2008, but may be open to proposals after the summer for the following travel season.
Travel+Leisure’s 2007 World’s Best Service Awards recently ranked in its top five domestic airlines for customer service. The airline also plans to continue growing by adding frequency to its popular destinations including Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and New York.
However, the company had a net loss of about $34 million in revenue during 2007, according the Star-Tribune.
According to Blackshaw, consultant and former CEO of Minneapolis-based Colle+Mcvoy John Jarvis is handling the upcoming campaign.
Put Sun Country on your prospect list and prepare introductions to Blackshaw later in the year. While the next campaign is in place, the new CEO will expect results and opportunity may exist for future campaigns. Project opportunities may also be at hand since Blackshaw prefers to hire agencies on a project basis.