Sun Country Airlines has appointed a new president and chief executive with experience in low-cost airlines.
The Eagan-based airline announced late Monday it has hired Jude Bricker to lead the company. Bricker previously worked for Allegiant Air, an airline known for offering no-frills flights.
“We are pleased to have Jude Bricker joining us at Sun Country to lead our organization going forward,” said Marty Davis, the airline’s chairman.
“Sun Country is composed of a tremendously experienced group of employees,” he said. “Our ongoing challenge is to grow this business in the most optimal manner, and do so within the market opportunities before us. Jude will lead that effort.”
The appointment comes one week after Davis notified Sun Country employees that he had asked CEO Zarir Erani to step down from his position at the airline.
Erani, well regarded by many employees, will take a position working on technology capabilities for Cambria Co., another Minnesota business owned by the Davis Family.
The decision to move Erani came after a review over several months of the airline’s activities and management by owners, Davis said last week.
Bricker has spent the past decade with Las Vegas-based Allegiant where he most recently served as chief operating officer and executive vice president.
He resigned from Allegiant in late May.
Like Sun Country, Allegiant specializes in — and profits from — building vacation packages for its northern-city customers headed to warm-weather destinations.
But the two airlines operate different customer-service models. Sun Country has built a reputation as a friendly airline that still includes certain free “perks,” such as a free carry-on bag and complimentary beverages.
Allegiant is an ultra-low-cost airline, which charges fees for everything from seat assignments to nonalcoholic beverages.
Bricker was credited as a key architect in helping Allegiant reach its first-ever collective-bargaining contract with its pilots last year after contentious negotiations between the labor group and management.
“I am excited to be joining Sun Country. This team has established Sun Country as a pre-eminent name in travel in Minnesota,” Bricker said. “I look forward to continuing the tradition of customer focus while delivering safe and reliable service to top destinations.”
Bricker, along with his wife and three teenage children, will be moving to Minnesota in the near future, Sun Country said in a news release.