CEO Sean Menke to leave bankrupt Pinnacle on 1 June

Washington DC
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Pinnacle Airlines announced today that chief executive Sean Menke will step down on 1 June, only 60 days after the regional carrier filed for bankruptcy.

Menke will be replaced by chief operating officer John Spanjers, formerly chief executive of the Mesaba Airlines operating unit acquired by Pinnacle.

"John brings a strong and proven track record of airline leadership," Donald Breeding, Pinnacle's chairman, says in a released statement.

Spanjers takes over an airline that has experienced a constant churn in leadership since former chief executive Phil Trenary departed last year.

Menke, formerly chief executive and president of Frontier Airlines, replaced Trenary last May.

Chief operating officer Doug Shockey then left in September, to be replaced by Spanjers.

Former chief financial officer Peter Hunt also left the airline in 2011. His replacement, Edward Christie, moved to Spirit Airlines one month ago.

Pinnacle still expects to make progress on its bankruptcy restructuring programme over the next 53 days while Menke is on board.

By 1 June, the carrier says, Pinnacle should have renegotiated loss-making deals with Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and the Economic Development Canada bank. Pinnacle also plans to receive final approval of its $74 million debtor-in-possession loan from Delta.

Meanwhile, the company will continue its search for a new chief financial officer to replace Christie.

Both Menke and Spanjers had been criticised for receiving significant pay increases in late March, even as they were asking employees, suppliers, airline partners and banks to make major concessions.