Bruce R. Kennedy

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Bruce R. Kennedy (1938 – June 28, 2007) was an American businessman best known for his work as Chief Executive Officer of Alaska Airlines between 1979 and 1991, where he presided over the expansion of the airline. He retired in the early 1990s to do humanitarian work before his death in 2007. He also served as a national leader in his church.[1][2]

Early life and career[edit]

Kennedy was born in Denver, Colorado in 1938. He moved to Alaska as a teenager and graduated from the University of Alaska in 1963. Following graduation, Kennedy served as an artillery officer in the United States Army where he met his wife Karleen.[3] He later entered the real estate business before his company acquired Alaska Airlines when it was nearly bankrupt in 1972.[1]

Alaska Airlines[edit]

Kennedy became the CEO of Alaska Airlines in 1979. Annual revenue for the airline grew from $234.5 million in 1982 to $1.1 billion in 1991. He was largely responsible for the airline developing two routes to southern California, Russia and Mexico. As well, he fostered the development of subsidiary Horizon Air.[3]

Humanitarian work[edit]

He retired in 1991 to undertake humanitarian work. Kennedy traveled to China to teach English and sheltered refugees in his house. He was the chairman of Quest Aircraft which made aircraft for dangerous and remote locations and served on the boards of Christian organisations. He also served on the board of Alaska Air which was now based in Washington where he lived.[3]

Kennedy died in a plane crash near Wenatchee, Washington while visiting his grandchildren.[1]

Leadership in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)[edit]

Kennedy was a member of the General Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from 1993-1999. He was an elder in John Knox Church in Seattle at the time of his death.[2]