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Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu retiring in February 2021
Air Canada's President and CEO, Calin Rovinescu

Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu retiring in February 2021

Friday, October 16, 2020

MONTREAL — Air Canada has announced that its President and CEO, Calin Rovinescu, will retire on February 15, 2021.

Air Canada’s Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer, Michael Rousseau will succeed Rovinescu upon his retirement.

Rovinescu will retire following completion of the company’s current fiscal year.

Though the news comes amid the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rovinescu’s leadership brought the company close to 12 strong and successful years.

“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 privatization, 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,” says Rovinescu.

“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,” he said.

“While Covid-19 has decimated the global airline industry, fortunately we entered the pandemic much healthier than almost any other airline in the world as a result of our 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. We have raised around $6 billion of incremental liquidity. We continue to implement a series of significant fleet, capacity, network and workforce reductions that are required for the next several years before we rebuild from that smaller footprint. We have reduced our cost structure, our capital spending and our supplier arrangements for the next years,” he added.

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“At the same time, we have completed the implementation of our new Reservation System and our acquisition of Aeroplan and we will have launched our new industry-leading loyalty program. We have concluded a revised Acquisition Agreement for Transat AT, a leader in leisure travel, subject to regulatory approval. Air Canada will be extremely well positioned for the recovery when borders reopen, travel restrictions are lifted and the broader economy is functioning again,” he added.

Earlier this week Air Canada and Transat announced new terms for Transat’s proposed acquisition, with a new price tag of $190 million, down from the original $720 million. Rovinescu’s Feb. 15, 2021 retirement date coincides with the deadline for regulatory approvals for the Air Canada – Transat deal.

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Air Canada’s Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer, Michael Rousseau will succeed President and CEO Calin Rovinescu upon his retirement on Feb. 15, 2021

Rovinescu says Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer Rousseau has been a key member of Air Canada’s leadership team since the beginning of the company’s 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,” said Rovinescu.

Rovinescu added: ”He knows all of our strengths and opportunities and how we can lean into them. 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.”

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Vagn Sorensen, Chair of the Board of Directors of Air Canada, says: “Calin’s record in successfully transforming Air Canada into a sustainable, global aviation industry leader is directly attributable to his strategic leadership and unflappable courage to make difficult and innovative decisions, always keeping the best interest of all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers and partners, at the forefront. Under his leadership, Skytrax has named Air Canada The Best Airline in North America eight times in the last 10 years while The Globe and Mail reported that Air Canada was the best performing stock on the TSX, in all industrial categories, over the decade ending December 31, 2019, with a total shareholder return exceeding 3600%. His leadership also resulted in the creation of the Air Canada Foundation, whose mission is focused on children and youth in Canada and abroad and which supports some 300 charitable organizations, in addition to providing humanitarian relief for natural disasters around the world. On behalf of the Air Canada Board of Directors, I sincerely thank Calin for his incredible contribution to Air Canada, a contribution that will bear fruit for years to come.”

In addition to numerous awards, in 2018 Rovinescu was appointed a member of the Order of Canada for promoting the associated charitable causes and organizations of Canada’s largest airline, and for his leadership in spearheading humanitarian relief following several natural disasters. In 2019 it was announced that he would be inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile Rousseau has served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Air Canada since December 2018, having previously served as its Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer since 2007.

Sorensen added: “The Board looks forward to working with Mike Rousseau, whose leadership role has evolved well beyond that of a traditional CFO over his time at Air Canada. His financial and commercial acumen, as well as his team-oriented nature will serve the Company well in the years ahead.”

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