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Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu announced he will retire from the airline in February 2021. (Photo: BNN Bloomberg)

Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu to retire in February

Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu announced he will retire from the airline in February 2021. (Photo: BNN Bloomberg)

Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu is retiring in February and will be succeeded by deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer Michael Rousseau, the company announced Friday.

“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,” Rovinescu said in a release.

Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer of Air Canada Michael Rousseau will succeed the outgoing CEO Calin Rovinescu, who will resign from the post in February next year.
(Photo: Globe and Mail)

​”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.”

Rovinescu said the airline continues to implement significant reductions in its fleet, capacity, network, and workforce which “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. “Air Canada will be extremely well positioned for the recovery when borders reopen, travel restrictions are lifted and the broader economy is functioning again.”

An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 lands at Toronto Pearson International Airport on March 13, 2019. (Photo: Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Rovinescu has also been pushing the federal government to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions, which have dealt a huge blow to the airline sector. Former Air Canada chair and industry veteran Robert E Brown told BNN Bloomberg in an interview he believes the CEO will continue urging Ottawa for some relief until the day he retires.

“I know Calin. I think he’ll be fighting hard for his company, for his employees and for his customers to the end,” Brown said.

Rovinescu has been at the helm of the country’s largest air carrier since 2009. Prior to his role as CEO, he served as executive vice-president of corporate development and strategy from 2000-04. He also held the position of chief restructuring officer during the airline’s restructuring in 2003-04.

He previously served as chair of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board and as chair of the International Air Transport Association’s board of governors. Rovinescu is a current board member of BCE Inc, BNN Bloomberg’s parent company.

Prior to joining Air Canada, Rousseau was president of Hudson’s Bay Company. He graduated from York University’s Schulich School of Business and was named Canada’s CFO of the year in 2017.

— Bloomberg