MONTREAL — Transat co-founder, president and CEO Jean-Marc Eustache is handing over the reins of the corporation to Annick Guérard, in keeping with the company’s succession plan put in place several years ago.
The change takes effect tomorrow, May 27, when Guérard, who has been Transat’s Chief Operating Officer since November 2017, takes over as President and CEO.
Eustache is also stepping down from his role on the board of directors. Raymond Bachand, the lead director of the corporation, will succeed Eustache as Chairman of the Board and Guérard will join the Board of Directors.
For decades Eustache has been a visionary in the travel industry. He co-founded Transat in 1987 with Lina De Cesare and Philippe Sureau, and steady growth and vertical integration followed.
Before the pandemic hit, Transat was poised for acquisition by Air Canada for $720 million. That deal was announced just over two years ago, in 2019. The pandemic devastated the airline industry, and travel the world over. The deal foundered and both Air Canada and Transat have since announced financial assistance agreements with the federal government as they look to get back on solid footing post-pandemic.
“With the crisis resulting from the COVID-19, we were most happy to have been able to rely on all of Jean-Marc’s experience and wisdom to face the worse storm in the history of Transat and the tourism industry, until the implementation of the critical $700 million financing announced on April 29, 2021 which will provide Transat with the funds it needs to relaunch its operations on solid grounds once it emerges from the pandemic-induced restrictions,” said Bachand.
“We are grateful to Jean-Marc for his contribution and his unwavering dedication throughout his tenure at Transat, and we now hope that he can fully enjoy his well-deserved retirement,” he added.
”Jean-Marc has been a pillar of the company since its beginnings more than 30 years ago, and we want to continue to make this jewel that he leaves us shine for several decades to come,” said Guerard.
Eustache said this about his retirement from the company that he helped build from the ground up: ”I leave the company in the good hands of Annick Guérard, who has my full confidence as well as that of the rest of the management team and the Board of Directors.
“I have no doubt that, under her leadership, Transat will accomplish great things and once again become a formidable competitor admired by all.
“I am proud to have brought Transat to where it is now, and to have been able to secure the funding that allows it to face its future with confidence.
“It is now time to make room for new decision-makers, as Transat will deploy the plan that will once again make it a solid, profitable company and, for a long time to come, the symbol of leisure travel in the eyes of its many customers, in Quebec and elsewhere.”