Doyon President and CEO resigns

Orie WilliamsNews broke last week that President and CEO of Doyon, Orie Williams announced his resignation at a board meeting. Williams served as President for Nearly six years.

As you can read in the following article of the “Fairbanks Daily News – Miner”, there has not been any reason given for his departure.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Doyon plans to name interim president and CEO next month

By Eric Lidji
Published December 13, 2007

Doyon, Limited plans to name an interim president and CEO in January, and start immediately searching for a permanent replacement for the position, the company announced Wednesday.

According to a statement released by the Alaska Native regional corporation, current President and CEO Orie Williams offered his resignation at a board of directors meeting on Monday. The company has not given a reason for the resignation.

Of the 13 sitting members on the board of directors, 10 declined to comment or did not return calls for comment and three could not be reached for comment.

In a prepared statement, Chairwoman of the Board Georgianna Lincoln said, “The resignation was in no way related to the company’s operational performance or financial condition, both of which remain strong.”

Lincoln declined to comment further about why Williams decided to resign. Williams did not return calls for comment on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Williams plans to leave his position on Jan. 11, 2008, five weeks shy of his sixth anniversary leading the company. Under his leadership, he saw Doyon through several years of record profits and increased shareholder hire.

The news of Williams’ pending departure at the height of his success surprised many of Doyon’s shareholders.

“It’s been a complete shock,” said Mitch Demientieff, Williams’ long-time friend and colleague who said he has been getting calls from shareholders around the state. “People are in total disbelief.”

Williams’ career combines a tribal background with corporate knowledge.

“There are not many people out there like that,” Demientieff said.

Williams grew up in Nenana and graduated from Lathrop High School. He spent years in the construction industry, working as a supervisor in California and Alaska before returning to his hometown in the 1970s to work in village and public life.

During that time, Williams sat on the Nenana planning and zoning commission, served on the Nenana Village Council and worked with Alaska Village Initiatives, a economic development group for rural communities.

He also spent time in the ranks of Native nonprofit organizations, including a stint in the employment department at the Tanana Chiefs Conference.

For 11 years before taking the Doyon presidency in early 2002, Williams worked as the executive vice president of the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corp. in Bethel, using his construction background to help the company build new facilities.

YKHC President and CEO Gene Peltola recruited Williams specifically for the position after seeing Williams’ work on various boards and commissions.

“He had a practical business mind,” Peltola said.

As president of Doyon, Williams also sits on the board of the Association of ANCSA Regional Corporation Presidents and CEOs Inc., which recently filed suit against the state to stop several proposed ballot initiatives meant limit mining activity in Alaska and keep the proposed Pebble Mine near Iliamna from being built.

During the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention held in Fairbanks this past October, Williams introduced a resolution opposing the initiatives, known as the Alaska Clean Water Initiatives. During the meeting, some delegates wore buttons and stickers against Pebble Mine.

The mid-January departure date means Williams will not hold office during the upcoming annual meeting on March 14, 2008, when Doyon shareholders will vote to fill five open seats on the 13-member board, as the terms of Lincoln and board members Fred Bifelt, Walter Carlo, Andrew Jimmie and Victor Nicholas all expire next year.

Doyon opened enrollment to children and elders this past March and now has more than 16,000 shareholders.

Contact staff writer Eric Lidji at 459-7504.

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