Brad Tilden

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Brad Tilden
Brad Tilden Aviation Day -- Aviation Day -- May 6 2017.jpg
Tilden at Alaska Airlines Aviation Day
Born (1960-12-22) December 22, 1960 (age 59)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
EducationB.B.A., Pacific Lutheran University
M.B.A., University of Washington
OccupationChief Executive Officer, Chairman, and President of Alaska Air Group
Term2012 – Present
PredecessorBill Ayer (2002–2012)
Board member ofBoy Scouts of America, Airlines for America, Washington Roundtable, Nordstrom, and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Spouse(s)Danielle Tilden

Bradley D. Tilden (born December 22, 1960) is an American business executive. He is the chief executive officer, chairman and president of Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.[1] Before becoming the company's CEO in 2012, Tilden served as Alaska Airlines president, and before that as Alaska Air Group's chief financial officer.[2] He is a commercial pilot and holds multi-engine and instrument ratings.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Tilden was born in Houston, Texas in 1960. His family moved to Seattle where he attended Sylvester Middle School in Burien. Seeing his first Boeing 727 on a field trip sparked Tilden's love of airplanes.[3] After graduating from Highline High School in 1979, Tilden enrolled at Pacific Lutheran University, during which time he worked as a dishwasher aboard Amtrak trains to pay tuition.[4] Tilden became interested in business and earned a degree in business administration and accounting.[5] During this time, Tilden earned his private pilot license. In 1997, he earned an executive master's degree in business administration from the University of Washington.


Following graduation from college, Tilden worked for eight years at the accounting firm PwC (then called Price Waterhouse) in Seattle and Melbourne.[4] Alaska Airlines hired Tilden in 1991 to the accounting division and three years later named him as corporate controller of the company.

After serving as the company's chief financial officer and executive vice president of finance, Tilden became chief executive officer of Alaska Air Group in 2012, replacing Bill Ayer.[2] During his leadership, Tilden oversaw the Alaska Airlines’ acquisition of Virgin America, a combination of airlines that was recognized by the FAA as a uniquely fast process.[6][7] Maintaining Alaska's reputation as an industry leader in sustainability, the International Council on Clean Transportation named the airline to be the most fuel-efficient domestic carrier during Tilden's first five years as CEO.[8]

Fortune Magazine named Tilden one of its Businesspeople of the Year in 2016.[9] He was inducted into the International Air and Space Hall of Fame in 2018.[10]


Tilden is a longtime advocate for education and youth career development. Each year, Tilden and his family support a college scholarship through the Highline Schools Foundation and, in 2014, led efforts to secure a bond to build two new schools in the Highline School District.[11] He is also a major proponent of Aviation Day, which Alaska Airlines hosts to teach youths about career opportunities in the aviation industry, and an early supporter of Raisbeck Aviation High School at the Museum of Flight.[12][13] Tilden and Alaska Airlines host an annual scholarship celebration with Highline Public Schools students and Russell Wilson. During his time on the Chief Seattle Council of Boy Scouts of America, Tilden called for the organization to accept openly gay scouts.[14]

Tilden serves on the boards of Boy Scouts of America, Washington Roundtable, Nordstrom, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (which he formerly chaired) and is the current chair of Airlines for America.[15][16][17]

Personal life[edit]

Brad is married to Danielle Tilden. They have three children. Tilden is an Eagle Scout.[18]


  1. ^ McIntosh, Andrew (July 18, 2017). Alaska Air CEO weighs in on replacing Virgin America's Airbus fleet with Boeing jets. Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Gates, Dominic. "Brad Tilden new Alaska Air CEO as Bill Ayer announces retirement". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  3. ^ Parker, Garrett. "10 Things You Didn't Know about Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden". Money Inc. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Clements, Barbara. "Tilden Flies High as Alaska Airlines' New President". PLU. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Highline Schools Foundation gives out gold stars to five outstanding individuals". Westside Seattle. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  6. ^ McIntosh, Andrew. "Inside Alaska Air's 'Verger:' Smooth flying (so far) in the Virgin America integration". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  7. ^ "Alaska Air to acquire Virgin America in $4bn deal". BBC. April 4, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Olmer, Naya; Rutherford, Dana (December 14, 2017). "U.S. domestic airline fuel efficiency ranking, 2015–2016". The International Council on Clean Transportation. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ Fortune – Business Person of the Year 2016 Fortune. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  10. ^ "World's Most Prestigious Air & Space Hall of Fame to Enshrine Distinguished Class of 2018". San Diego Air & Space Museum. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  11. ^ Wilhelm, Steve (December 18, 2015). "Brad Tilden: The 'aw shucks' leader of Alaska Airlines". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  12. ^ "Some kids need a little lift to see aviation as a career path". The Seattle Times. May 1, 2019. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  13. ^ Rosen, David (October 17, 2013). "Raisbeck Aviation High School opens at Museum of Flight campus". Westside Seattle. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  14. ^ Cihon, Brett (May 23, 2013). "Local scout leader and Alaska Air CEO asks Boy Scouts for change". Q13 Fox. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  15. ^ McIntosh, Andrew (June 4, 2018). "PSBJ Interview: Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden is clipped in and ready for the next hill". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  16. ^ "Alaska Air Group Chairman And CEO To Serve As Incoming 2016 Board Chair Of Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Of Commerce". The Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  17. ^ "Board of Directors". Airlines for America.
  18. ^ Wendell, Bryan (September 4, 2015). "Check out this month's cover of Alaska Airlines magazine". Scouting Magazine. Retrieved July 1, 2019.