Jerry Atkin, chair of SkyWest Airlines’ board of directors, is planning to retire in May, marking the end of four-decade-long tenure with the company’s senior leadership team.  

SkyWest disclosed in a 25 March filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the board had recently accepted Atkin’s offer to retire, adding that Atkin is observing the company’s corporate governance guidelines by stepping down upon reaching the age of 75.

“The offer to retire tendered by Mr. Atkin was not the result of any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to its operations, policies or practices,” SkyWest says.

SkyWest United E175

Source: Skywest Airlines

SkyWest chairman Jerry Atkin is retiring after a decades-long career with the carrier 

His successor as chairman will be James Welch, the company’s lead independent director. Welch’s appointment is effective upon SkyWest’s shareholders meeting on 7 May. 

Atkin joined St. George, Utah-headquartered SkyWest in 1974 as its director of finance, becoming president and chief executive officer the following year. He remained in those roles until 2011 and 2015, respectively.

“The board greatly appreciates and sincerely thanks Mr. Atkin for his long-standing commitment, leadership and many contributions to the board and to the company’s growth and success during his many years of service,” SkyWest says.

The regional airline flies a massive fleet of Embraer jets for major US carriers. Of SkyWest’s 1,850 daily departures in late December, 740 were under the United Express brand, 580 were for Delta Connection, 340 were American Eagle flights and 190 were for Horizon Air. 

Like other regional carriers, SkyWest has been struggling with an acute shortage of captains and first officers during the industry’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Its annual departures and block hours have been in steady decline since 2021 as a result of the shortage.

The company had more than 13,000 employees and nearly 500 aircraft in scheduled service at the end of 2023, it discloses in SEC statements.