Alaska Air Group on Wednesday named tech industry veteran Veresh Sita as the new chief information officer for its Alaska Airlines unit.
Sita was formerly CIO at commercial real estate specialist Colliers and also previously served as program director for Global Business Systems at coffee giant Starbucks.
“Veresh’s leadership and rich technology experience will fit well with our culture of innovation and will also help guide the company in our efforts to make travel easier for our customers,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden, in a statement.
Sita’s CV shows a number of accomplishments. At Colliers, he led the creation of Colliers Hub, a social portal and collaboration platform where employees can collect market information from various sources around the world.
He also designed and implemented a Colliers mobile app and cloud platform that connects employees and customers in 482 offices in 62 countries. At Starbucks, Sita led the largest business process and systems transformation in the company’s history.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Alaska Airlines family, and look forward to joining a team that is focused on creating the best experience for their customers,” Sita said in a statement.
Sita will look to build on Alaska Airlines’ history of business and technology innovation, which includes being the first U.S. airline to sell tickets directly to consumers through the Web and to allow online check in.
Former Starbucks Exec To Pilot IT Ops For Alaska Airlines
Technology is becoming increasingly strategic for the chronically-challenged airline industry as carriers look for new ways to boost profits and revenues. 75 percent of airline CIOs expect to invest more heavily in new IT projects in 2014 than in 2013, according to a recent survey by SITA.
One area of focus is mobile applications that add self-service features for customers. 81 percent of airlines said they are increasing awareness of their mobile services and adding more services. 95 percent said they were looking to make their apps easier to use.
“This will require enhancements, such as greater integration with other mobile services, location-based services, and more personalization,” SITA found in its 2014 Airline IT Trends Survey.