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

Dec 7, 2020

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 has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its million plus members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s offices 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

AAA Washington Media Contacts

Kelly Just | 425-647-1594
Jennifer Cook | 425-301-9075
Twitter: @AAA_Washington
Facebook: AAA Washington

Media Contact

Jennifer Cook
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications

Kelly Just
Manager, Public Relations

Bellevue Corporate Office
3605 132nd Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98006

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