Air Canada has announced that its president and CEO will retire following the completion of the company’s current fiscal year.
Calin Rovinescu will officially hang up the boots on 15 February 2021 after leading the airline for almost 12 years. He previously worked as Air Canada’s executive vice president of corporate development and strategy, and as its chief restructuring officer.
Air Canada’s deputy CEO and chief financial officer, Michael Rousseau, will succeed him upon his retirement.
Commenting on his impending retirement, Rovinescu said: “I have enjoyed a unique and very special relationship with Air Canada and our outstanding people for over three decades, on the front lines of many of the company’s defining moments – the 1988-1989 privatisation, the defence against a hostile bid for Air Canada in 1999, our merger with Canadian Airlines in 2000, the aftermath of 9-11, leading the 2003-2004 restructuring, and many others.
“But, more than anything else in my career, I am especially proud of the company’s transformation over the last dozen years during which we built Air Canada into one of the world’s leading carriers and a global champion for Canada, winning international customer and employee awards, growing our global network to serve all six inhabited continents, creating thousands of jobs and protecting pensions, producing record financial results, strengthening our balance sheet dramatically, delivering significant shareholder value, and above all, developing a lasting, empowered and entrepreneurial culture for our airline.
“This is directly attributable to the efforts of the wonderful women and men of Air Canada who have supported this multi-year transformation with innovation, hard work and great devotion.”
Rovinescu said that while COVID-19 has “decimated” the global airline industry, Air Canada entered the pandemic much healthier than almost any other airline in the world as a result of its “strong” balance sheet, track record and “engaged” workforce.
“Our COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery Plan is now nearly complete, and the remaining steps will be put in place prior to year-end,” he said.
“Air Canada will be extremely well-positioned for the recovery when borders reopen, travel restrictions are lifted and the broader economy is functioning again.”
Rovinescu said Rousseau has been a key member of Air Canada’s leadership team since the beginning of its transformation, as well as “an invaluable partner and sounding board for me on virtually all aspects of our journey over the last 12 years – and especially the last two as our deputy CEO”.
“He knows all of our strengths and opportunities and how we can lean into them.” Rovinescu said.
“I am truly delighted that the board of directors has endorsed Mike as my successor for this next stage, and I look forward to working closely with Mike and the rest of our strong executive team through the transition next February.”
Image source: Air Canada