MLSE President and CEO Michael Friisdahl
The new MLSE President and CEO Michael Friisdahl.

Friisdahl to depart Air Canada Leisure Group for MLSE

TORONTO — Michael Friisdahl is leaving his post as President and CEO of Air Canada Leisure Group and taking the reins as President and CEO at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE).

The appointment is effective starting this December.

“It is a true privilege to be chosen to lead MLSE, a proudly Canadian sports and entertainment company that rivals any in North America and indeed the world. As a Torontonian, I’m thrilled by the opportunity to focus all of our resources on supporting the Leafs, Raptors, TFC, Marlies and Raptors 905, and making Toronto the championship city that our fans deserve,” said Friisdahl. “These are exciting times for Toronto, indeed for all Canadian sports fans, and I’m very proud to be leading the MLSE team that will deliver for them.”

MLSE Chairman Larry Tanenbaum said that “given our unparalleled sports executive and team leadership, MLSE’s CEO search focused on the appointment of a seasoned Canadian business executive to lead the organization and we’ve found exactly what we were looking for in Michael.”

Friisdahl served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada Leisure Group since it was formed in 2012, combining Air Canada Vacations with Air Canada rouge.

Prior to joining the Air Canada executive team, Friisdahl was CEO of Thomas Cook North America and a member of the international Group Executive Board of Thomas Cook Group plc. He was previously COO of Thomas Cook Canada and later North America.

Entering the industry as an entrepreneur in the mid-1980s, Friisdahl built a travel wholesale business that merged to create The Holiday Network. As a partner and President and CEO of The Holiday Network, he continued to grow the business until its acquisition by Thomas Cook Group plc (formerly MyTravel plc).