Sealaska Corp. CEO Anthony Mallott is departing effective Jan. 1, the Alaska Native corporation announced Wednesday.
The announcement comes days after Sealaska announced a lower annual dividend for shareholders for the first time in many years, which prompted complaints from shareholders who expressed concerns about the corporation’s leadership during the past few years.
In a press release, Mallott stated he is “leaving his position to help the Alaska Native Corporation shape a new leadership structure for the years to come.”
“Now that we have a strong international business platform, we are thinking about how to do more to use business successes to benefit shareholders and communities,” he said. “Our current level of success is proof of how much strength our values provide us. The time is right at Sealaska to reposition for continued progress.”
Mallott joined Sealaska in 2006 as its chief investment officer and treasurer, and became president and CEO in June of 2014.
The release did not mention an acting CEO or provide details about seeking Mallott’s replacement. Mallott and Sealaska Board Executive Chair Joe Nelson did not return messages Wednesday from the Empire seeking comment.
An announcement on Sealaska’s Facebook page about Mallott’s departure received positive well wishes from a majority of commenters, along with plenty of dissenting views and a few questions, including one person asking simply “what happened.”
“The time is right at Sealaska to reposition for continued progress given that we have made strong commitments to our values, and have a unique opportunity to assure that our financial success can continue to lead to impactful shareholder benefits,” Sealaska posted as a response.
When Mallott — the son of former president and CEO Byron Mallott, who later became Alaska’s lieutenant governor — took over in 2014 the corporation was “in the midst of changing some of its financial policies, with a goal of providing more jobs and higher dividends to shareholders,” according to an Alaska Public Media story at the time. The story noted Sealaska reported about $57 million of operating losses during 2013, but “revenues from investments and other sources brought that down to around $35 million.”
The corporation experienced significant growth in business and shareholders during Mallott’s time as CEO, and its annual shareholder dividends rose from $1.36 a share in 2014 to $7.67 in 2022. But the corporation announced last week a dividend for this year of $5.85
“A number of factors contributed to the lower distribution amount — most notably, a decrease in ANCSA 7(i) income, lower returns in the investment market and the absence of carbon income that had contributed to distributions over the previous five years,” the corporation announced in a statement recapping its board of directors meeting last Thursday when the fall dividend distribution was approved.
The ANCSA 7(i) income refers to revenue sharing with other Alaska Native corporations via the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The carbon income refers to a Sealaska carbon-offset project launched in 2018 which contributed to “Sealaska’s biggest net income year on record” at the time, according to the corporation.
Mallott and other company officials said after last Thursday’s meeting the company is also making significant investments in future and ongoing projects with some of its funds.
In an interview with the Empire in March of 2022 about the 50-year impact of ANCSA, Mallott said Sealaska was shifting to a business model that was sustainable, responsible, close to home and rooted in traditional values. That meant the company was stepping away from harvesting old-growth timber to focus on activities such as environmental services and sustainable seafood harvesting.
We have financial proof our strategy is working,” he said at the time.
• Contact Mark Sabbatini at email@example.com or (907) 957-2306.