‘Family matters and comes first’, WestJet’s CEO announces retirement | #retirement | #elderly | #seniors
Listen to 680 Business Editor Kris McCusker’s report on the retirement of WestJet’s president and CEO:
After four years, WestJet’s president and CEO is handing in the keys to the cockpit.
The airline announced Wednesday that Ed Sims will retire at the end of the year to spend time with his family in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
“One of the outcomes of the pandemic — and the agonizing travel restrictions in place around the world — is the powerful reminder that family matters and comes first.” Sims said in a video message shared by the company.
“By the time I depart for New Zealand, it will be two long years since I have seen two of my children who live there…the pandemic has underscored the need to reconnect in person.”
In a release, WestJet praised Sims for his helping to expand the airline’s international network, WestJet Vacations, WestJet Cargo and the WestJet Rewards program.
“Ed has led WestJet through the worst crisis in aviation history and will see us through to the end of 2021,” Chris Burley, Chairman of WestJet’s board of directors said. “We owe our relative strength and stability in no small measure to Ed’s leadership and steady hand.”
In retirement, Sims will continue to support the airline’s parent company. He is set to serve Onex Partners as a senior advisor focused on aerospace and aviation.
“Ed was a critical part of Onex’ investment in WestJet,” Tawfiq Popatia, a WestJet board member and Senior Managing Director at Onex said.
“With the WestJet transaction closing in December 2019 and the pandemic hitting Canada in February the following year, we had only a few weeks between closing and the onset of the pandemic and it’s hard to overstate the importance of Ed’s leadership through this exceptionally challenging period. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Ed.”
WestJet’s board of directors has begun the search for a new Chief Executive Officer.
The announcement comes as the federal government announced that fully vaccinated Canadian travellers will no longer need to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arriving home.
During a news conference Wednesday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said affected travellers will still have to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and stay in isolation until the test comes back negative.
The government will also eliminate the need for fully vaccinated Canadian air travellers to spend three days quarantining in an authorized hotel upon arriving in the country.
Easier travel could also resume between Canada and the United States for fully vaccinated people.
After the federal government said they were taking step towards easing restrictions earlier this week, reports surfaced that an announcement could be made as soon as Friday.