In May 2003, when Bill Ayer took over the top posts at Alaska Airlines and its parent, Alaska Air Group, one of his first steps was to eliminate reserved parking for company officers at its lake-side headquarters. Ayer then moved to cut his salary by 20%.

Ayer, now 50, was bitten early by the aviation bug and started out selling Piper turboprops and then ran a small commuter operation in Washington state called Air Olympia. "It failed miserably. This is just such a competitive business and the best I can say is that I learned from it." Ayer started at Alaska's Horizon regional unit and worked his way up. He learned to fly early and stays current. He took an undergraduate degree from Stanford University. Of his career at Alaska, he says: "I guess in some ways I was in the right place at the right time. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I'm here for life."

Source: Airline Business