Swami Iyer is named CEO of CIRI, Sarah Lukin is president-elect

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Swami Iyer and Sarah Lukin, CIRI top leadership as of October, 2023.

The board of directors for Cook Inlet Region, Inc (CIRI), an Alaska Native corporation based in Anchorage, has elected Swami Iyer as its new CEO and promoted Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Lukin, to the role of president. Sophie Minich announced earlier this year she was retiring as CEO and president after 10 years on the job, and 30 years with the coporation. The board has decided to split up the dual role.

“Our Board decided to split CIRI leadership into two positions, CEO and President. This change will help CIRI foster growth and have a positive impact on the services we provide to our Shareholders, Descendants, and the 60,000 Alaska Natives and American Indians that reside in our region,” said Doug Fifer, Chair of the CIRI Board of Directors.

CEO-elect Swami Iyer most recently served as the president of Aerospace Systems at Virgin Galactic, LLC and has 25 years of experience in commercial, aerospace, defense, and cyber industries, including serving as the South Asia and Oceania chief for the deputy undersecretary of International Affairs at the Air Force.

Lukin has over 20 years of experience working with indigenous businesses across the U.S. and Canada, including her previous roles as senior vice president and chief administration officer for NANA Regional Corporation, chief operating officer for Pt Capital, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Afognak Native Corporation and executive director of the Native American Contractors Association.

Lukin is Alutiiq from Port Lions, a remote village on Kodiak Island and is a shareholder of Koniag, Inc. and Afognak Native Corporation and an enrolled tribal member of the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions.

Cook Inlet Region, Inc. is one of 12 regional corporations established in Alaska by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. CIRI is owned by over 9,200 Shareholders, primarily of Athabascan, Southeast Indian, Inupiat, Yup’ik, Alutiiq/Sugpiaq and Aleut/Unangax descent.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I guess they don’t have to be of native ancestry to hold positions? This Swami guy looks “India” Indian to me and the name sounds like it. I know that many Indians are gaining high positions in many corporations in the US. Hopefully he is truly American and has no left-over cultural traditions. (They are some of the most racist people on earth.) I do not say that lightly because I have three daughters married to men born in foreign countries. I usually am extremely tolerant of all people but I’m more worried about them than the Chinese.

    • Super magnanimous, really wants others to manifest full, individual potential, nice and gracious? Such qualities are much needed anywhere in Alaska.

  2. Wow, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force’s International Affairs. I smell some big, fat, juicy Federal contracts coming CIRI’s way soon!

    • Good ! That’s his job, I hope CIRI gets so many big, fat, juicy contracts that CIRI won’t know what to do with so many big, fat, juicy contracts.

  3. CEO-elect Swami Iyer most recently served as the president of Aerospace Systems at Virgin Galactic, LLC and has 25 years of experience in commercial, aerospace, defense, and cyber industries, including serving as the South Asia and Oceania chief for the deputy undersecretary of International Affairs at the Air Force.

    The other lady worked for pt capital? They both sound pretty swamPI to me.

  4. They need to have the shareholders vote on these positions and apply antitrust laws. So over it, it’s like a monarchy or communism… Give the power to the people and force the State of Alaska to certify the elections since they’re in bed w them forever and we need competition and to restructure this entire bs system – force them to provide accurate data on prescribing, climate and outcomes. ANCSA needs an enema! Support modernization of these laws and to remove the blood quantum and afterborn designation and to provide an honest way to make sure all shareholders are treated equal and stop them from forcing us to be democrats. Oh and move the capitol to the road system closer to Fairbanks so all people can participate in law making… Public voting communicates culture better than any of the vultures manipulating laws from commerce to research these guys are awful!

  5. The comments are where the gold is most often found. I had a hard time getting past the one made by Gretchen O’Barr. She hopes Swami is “truly American” and doesn’t have any “left-over cultural traditions” (does he have to give up curry? Not sure what this means.), and “They are some of the most racist people on earth.” And of course everything is wrapped up nicely with the concluding bow most often seen in responses such as this “I usually am extremely tolerant of all people but……” Classic.

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