Change is crucial to the continued growth of any organization, and we are excited to welcome three new Directors to the CIRI Board in June. Another change is on the horizon: Together, our Board and president and CEO, Sophie Minich, recently announced a transition in leadership that will take place the end of the year. This will begin a new chapter for CIRI, and we are excited for what lies ahead. I would personally like to thank Sophie for her 30 years of service to CIRI, her last 10 as president and CEO.
Sophie started her career in CIRI’s accounting department, where her aptitudes were quickly realized. She served in several leadership positions—including as chief operating officer, senior vice president of business development, chief financial officer, vice president of administration, and director of accounting— before assuming the role of president and CEO in January 2013. In this role, she helped right-size the company by discontinuing operations that did not consistently sustain a profit, oversaw a business-harvesting strategy that maximized profitability, and positioned the Company for impressive growth and expansion, nearly doubling the Company’s net income and raising annual distributions per share to their highest amount in CIRI’s history.
Throughout her tenure, Sophie has led CIRI with integrity and grace while working tirelessly to fulfill the mandates of CIRI’s mission of providing socially, culturally and economically for CIRI Shareholders and their families. Sophie has a deep appreciation of and connection with CIRI’s stakeholders and successfully built a team committed to advancing CIRI to meet our community’s needs in a changing world. She treats each of us as family.
The Board of Directors launched a search for Sophie’s successor in April. The Board and Sophie have closely coordinated throughout the succession-planning process, and Sophie will remain with the Company through Dec. 31 to support a smooth and orderly transition. In addition to Sophie and CIRI’s executive leadership team, we have enlisted the help of a third-party executive search firm to support the Board as we search for Sophie’s successor.
While the search will include all qualified candidates, CIRI provides employment preference to CIRI Shareholders for all job postings. The Board will keep CIRI’s diverse Alaska Native cultures and the Company’s values in the forefront, with the goal of building a strong future for CIRI for generations to come.
Your Board is both excited for what lies ahead and immensely grateful to have worked alongside Sophie. I am most honored to call Sophie my friend. She took me under her wing when I came on as a Board Director in 2006, showing me the ropes and providing mentorship and guidance. I would not be where I am today, proudly and gratefully serving as your Board Chair, had Sophie not gifted me her time and talents.
As Sophie concludes her incredible career at CIRI, I know her impact will carry on. We appreciate Sophie’s deep commitment to our community and thank her for her service.
Chair, CIRI Board of Directors