Marrs wins new contract with CIRI

Posted: Friday, August 02, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Carl Marrs will continue to manage Anchorage-based Cook Inlet Region Inc., Alaska's most profitable Native corporation.

Ten out of 15 CIRI directors voted Thursday to give Marrs a new, two-year contract that runs through July 2004.

''I'm real pleased that two-thirds of the board has confidence in my management,'' Marrs said Thursday. Under the contract, Marrs said, his base salary will be $330,000 for the next year, up from $315,000.

Four directors, including prominent businessman and Native leader Roy Huhndorf, voted against retaining Marrs as chief executive. One board member, Patrick Marrs, Carl's brother, abstained.

''The vote is exactly as we thought it would be,'' said Dr. Terry Simpson, chairman. ''We're coming off the two most successful years of any Native corporation. Carl has done a great job, and renewing his contract is a given.''

Under Marrs' management, CIRI hit a telecom jackpot two years ago through a stock deal with VoiceStream Wireless. The Anchorage company celebrated the big win by handing out checks totaling $65,000 to most of its 7,000 Native shareholders.

Those who voted against giving Marrs a new contract Thursday waged a proxy campaign last spring to bring new direction and reform to CIRI. They said top managers spend lavishly, aren't accountable to shareholders and mask losses with one-time gains, among other complaints. Besides former chief executive Huhndorf, those casting votes against Marrs were Bill English, Bob Rude and Harold Rudolph.

Huhndorf said he was disappointed but not surprised by the vote.

Huhndorf said he and the others are prepared to wage battle over the next to years to bring new leadership to CIRI.

''While we don't relish the thought, we think it's necessary,'' Huhndorf said.

Huhndorf is Marrs' one-time mentor who hand-picked him to be chief executive 6 1/2 years ago. Huhndorf said his main goal is to usher in reforms that will make CIRI stronger financially.

Simpson says the attacks on Marrs are short on facts, big on exaggeration and outright errors.

''The bottom line is the board is consistently behind Carl. We like where he has taken us. We like where CIRI is headed,'' Simpson said.

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