WestJet CEO Saretsky Replaced By Ed Sims

March 8, 2018

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WestJet chief executive Gregg Saretsky will step down with immediate effect after eight years at the helm of Canada’s second biggest airline.

The surprise announcement said Saretsky will retire and he will be replaced by executive vice president Ed Sims, effective immediately.

WestJet’s chairman Clive Beddoe said “Gregg has taken WestJet to new heights during his tenure and the airline would not be in the strong position it is without Gregg's business knowledge, drive and work ethic, and his focus on low costs.”

Saretsky joined the airline in June 2009 as VP at WestJet Vacations, before assuming the role of EVP Operations four months later. He was promoted to President and CEO in March 2010.

“With plans well underway for the launch of Swoop and the introduction of the 787-9 Dreamliners on the horizon… I'm confident WestJet will continue to grow to the next chapter and beyond,” Saretsky said.

New chief executive Ed Sims joined WestJet as EVP Commercial in May 2017 from New Zealand’s air navigation service provider Airways. His 30-year career in tourism and aviation also includes positions at TUI, Thomas Cook, Virgin Group and Air New Zealand.

“I am honoured by the opportunity to assume the role of President and CEO, and believe strongly in WestJet's next global chapter and the growth potential ahead,” Sims said. “WestJet has a strong challenger's spirit, and I'm thrilled to be able to lead the team onward.”

Earlier this week WestJet was ordered by the Canada Industrial Relations Board to stop its current hiring practices for its new ultra low-cost carrier Swoop. It is not known whether that knock back played a part in the executive change.