McNeil succeeds Loescher as top executive

PHOTO/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
JUNEAU -- Sealaska appointed its in-house counsel, Chris McNeil Jr., president and chief executive at a board meeting Feb. 23.

McNeil, a Juneau-born Tlingit and Nisga’a Tsimshian, takes over after the departure of Robert Loescher at the end of January.

Sealaska needed to add stability as soon as possible, said Albert Kookesh, the board’s president. He and two others were serving as an interim chief executive.

Loescher resigned a month after warning shareholders of huge losses and just days before shareholder meetings were originally scheduled to begin Feb. 2. Loescher was with Sealaska 27 years, the last three as president and chief executive.

McNeil, 52, earned a law degree from Stanford Law School and a master’s in political science from Yale University. He served Sealaska in various capacities from 1978 to 1986 before becoming executive vice president and general council, a position he held until 1993.

Since then, McNeil worked with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, a Connecticut tribe famous for its huge casino and gaming operations, where he served as the tribe’s Washington, D.C., representative.

He was lured back to Sealaska last year, Kookesh said.

Appointing McNeil as chief executive has other benefits as well, he said.

"He’s doing both jobs for the price of one."

03/03/2001 - 8:00pm