Air Canada Has New CEO Mr. Michael Rousseau

Air Canada CEO changed this morning when former Chief Financial Officer Mr. Michael Rousseau took over from Mr. Calin Rovinescu.

Air France – KLM pouched Mr. Smith from Air Canada back in 2018, who then was the President and Chief Operating Officer of the airline and likely on his way to the top.

You can access Air Canada here.

Here’s. Mr. Rousseau’s bio from Air Canada:

Michael S. Rousseau became Air Canada’s President and Chief Executive Officer in February 2021. He previously was the airline’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Chief Financial Officer, a role held since January 2019.  As Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Rousseau had oversight for several significant corporate initiatives and businesses including Air Canada Rouge, in addition to his responsibilities for the airline’s overall financial strategic direction comprising all aspects of financial reporting and planning, investor relations, treasury and controller’s operations, taxation, pension administration, internal audit, procurement and corporate real estate.  Since 2007, Mr. Rousseau had been Air Canada’s Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer and he has played a significant and highly strategic role in Air Canada’s successful transformation over the past decade.

Prior to Air Canada, Mr. Rousseau held executive positions including those of President, and before that Executive Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer at Canada’s largest diversified general merchandise retailer, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). He has also held senior executive financial positions at other large, international corporations, including Moore Corporation in Chicago, Silcorp Limited and the UCS Group (a division of Imasco Limited).

A graduate of York University, Mr. Rousseau has been a member of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1983.  He holds the prestigious FCA and FCPA designations, conferred by CPA Ontario in recognition of his professional achievements and contributions. He was named Canada’s CFO of the Year™ for 2017 by Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada), PwC Canada and Robert Half. Mr. Rousseau has been a member of the Board of Directors at Resolute Forest Products since 2010 and he has held several Board memberships of other public companies over the past 18 years.

Conclusion

I am sure that Mr. Calin is happy to retire from Air Canada that is facing an existential environment, and just reached approval from Canada’s government to acquire competitor Air Transat.

Choosing someone inside indicates a more evolutionary than the revolutionary path for Air Canada to come through this pandemic. It could perhaps have been the perfect opportunity to reinvent the airline.

Surely Mr. Rousseau’s first job is to negotiate a rescue package with Ottawa that would see passengers, whose flights the airline canceled, have their refunds processed.

Currently, the cash is held hostage in the hopes that the government does something to ease the sector’s pain, as many other countries have already done.

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