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Kirk Nelson, AAA Washington President & CEO, to Retire Summer 2021

AAA Washington Board of Trustees hires Russell Reynolds and begins CEO search

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Kirk Nelson, President & CEO of AAA Washington the preeminent provider of emergency road service in Washington and North Idaho, plans to retire next summer after 10 years in the driver’s seat. AAA’s Board of Trustees recently retained Russell Reynolds to begin a CEO search.

Nelson has served as president and CEO since April 2011 after a lengthy career at Qwest Communications where he was Washington President. Nelson’s vision led AAA Washington through innovation initiatives like GIG Car Share Seattle and the modernization of its retail locations; grew membership to more than 1.2 million; focused the organization on a dynamic strategic plan; and when he retires next year, will leave his successor a company with a strong financial foundation and bright future. During his business career, he has also been active in the community, having served as chair of the Association of Washington Business, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Seattle Sports Commission and the Community Development Roundtable. He currently serves on the boards of the Benaroya Research Institute, American Commerce Insurance Company and Forterra, Inc.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed leading the great team at AAA Washington who cares deeply about each other and our members,” said Nelson. “The team is dedicated to moving the member-centric organization forward through innovative initiatives, collaboration and a drive for success. I will miss working with everyone on a daily basis, but I’ll be a member for life!

The AAA Washington Board of Trustees has acquired the professional expertise of Russell Reynolds to execute the CEO search. The search committee will be led by incoming board chair Greg Bever (retired publisher of Spokane Journal of Business), and Sheila Edwards Lange (president of Seattle Central College). Interested candidates can email Russell Reynolds at

On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, I would like to thank Kirk Nelson for his outstanding leadership, commitment to our members and employees, and countless achievements. He leaves AAA Washington in a strong position for the next CEO,” said Board Chair, Carolyn Kelly. “The Board has begun a comprehensive search to identify a strategically driven leader who can leverage innovation and experience to continue to move the organization forward.

About AAA Washington:

AAA Washington was established in 1904 by 10 prominent Seattleites determined to champion the betterment of motoring conditions and laws; the preservation of Washington state’s natural beauty; and the promotion of Washington as an unrivaled tourist destination. More than a century later, the club continues to pursue these on behalf of its 1.2 million members. 

AAA Washington provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps, and personalized trip planning, to members. AAA was recently named one of the most trusted travel and automotive brands in the U.S. Additional information is available through the company’s stores in Washington and northern Idaho, at, or by calling 1-800-562-2582. 

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit

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Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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