Pinnacle Airlines CEO Stepping Down

April 19, 2012 Updated Apr 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM EDT

By WKBW News


Pinnacle Airlines CEO Stepping Down

April 19, 2012 Updated Apr 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM EDT

MEMPHIS, TN ( Memphis Business Journal by Jane Donahoe ) The Memphis Business Journal reports that Sean Menke is stepping down as the company CEO of Pinnacle Airlines June 1, and will be replaced by John Spanjers, the airline's current chief operating officer.

Pinnacle is the parent company of Colgan Air, the carrier that operated Continental flight 3407 that crashed in Clarence Center in February 2009.

Pinnacle recently filed for bankruptcy, and has come under fire for the top salaries paid to upper management.

Spanjers has been COO at Pinnacle since September 2011, and was president of Mesaba Aviation His position as Pinnacle's new CEO is intended to be a permanent one.

Menke led the airline for less than a year, after being named president and CEO May 25 and beginning the job July 1. He replaced departed CEO Phil Trenary.

He submitted his resignation to the board, according to a company statement. Pinnacle does not expect the resignation to affect the timeline of its bankruptcy proceedings.

The departure follows a little more than a month after Pinnacle chief financial officer Ted Christie announced his resignation. A search for Christie's replacement is still under way.

The Memphis-based regional airline holding company announced pay raises for both Menke and Spanjers in March. Menke received a nearly 60 percent pay increase, from $425,000 to $675,000, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Securities and Exchange Commission Latest from The Business Journals Follow this company . Spanjers' pay rose from $275,000 to $400,000, a 45 percent increase.

Rumors continue swirling about Pinnacle's future in Downtown Memphis. Spokesman Joe Williams addressed those rumors in an e-mail to MBJ Thursday.

"We’re examining every aspect of our business to find opportunities to reduce costs – this includes partner contracts, vendor contracts and other areas of the business including facility carrying costs," Williams said. "We currently don’t have plans to move but every opportunity to reduce costs will be considered."