Air Canada CEO quits as airline faces bankruptcy

March 31st, 2009 - 12:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 31 (IANS) Air Canada president and CEO Montie Brewer suddenly resigned Monday as the world’s 11th largest airline struggles with a deepening financial crisis.
Calin Rovinescu, a lawyer by profession, was appointed as the new president and CEO by the Montreal-based airline.

An American, Brewer headed Canada’s national carrier for five years. Announcing the name of Calin Rovinescu as the new president and CEO, Air Canada chairman David Richardson said: “Calin is no stranger to Air Canada, having been a senior member of the executive team from 2000 to 2004.

“Calin’s reputation as a proven leader and his wealth of experience in corporate strategy will serve Air Canada well during this particularly challenging period for the world’s airline industry.” Hit first by the rising oil prices in 2007 and 2008 and now by the economic downturn, Air Canada faces a financial crisis as its market share and revenues decline.

It is feared that the struggling airline may have to seek bankruptcy protection once again to survive. In 2003, the airline had survived by filing for bankruptcy protection.

Last month, the airline reported a net loss of $727 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, attributing it to higher fuel costs and the global slowdown.

The national carrier has also lost a chunk of its market to the private carrier WestJet.

To cut costs, the airline has laid off staff and cut many international and North American flights. Air Canada has a total staff of 24,000 worldwide. Outlining his vision, the incoming CEO said: “While the challenges in front of us are large, we will continue to build upon the successes of the airline to date and deliver a quality product for our customers, employees and shareholders.”

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