WestJet has announced that company President and CEO, Ed Sims, will retire at the end of this year. Mr. Sims has led the airline for the last four years, launching the company’s Boeing 787s, two new airline ventures, and a significant international network expansion.
On Wednesday (May 9, 2021), WestJet announced that after four years, the company’s President and CEO, Ed Sims, will retire at the end of 2021. During his tenure, Mr. Sims was responsible for the introduction of the company’s long-haul Boeing 787s, the launch of two new airline ventures, a significant international expansion and continued growth of WestJet Vacations, WestJet Cargo and the WestJet Rewards loyalty program. He will remain a member of WestJet Group’s Board and serve as President and CEO through December 2021. Thereafter, he will serve in a senior advisory role with Onex Partners, focusing on aerospace and aviation.
In Wednesday’s announcement, WestJet’s Chairman of the Board, Chris Burley, said,
“I want to thank Ed for his contributions to WestJet's strategy and growth initiatives over the past four years. Ed has led WestJet through the worst crisis in aviation history and will see us through to the end of 2021. We owe our relative strength and stability in no small measure to Ed's leadership and steady hand. On a personal note, we're pleased that Ed will be able to rejoin his family in New Zealand at the end of the year.”
Also commenting on his retirement, Mr. Sims, said,
“My time with WestJet has been an absolute career highlight and a privilege in my 35 years in the travel and aviation industries. The global pandemic and the ongoing travel restrictions have separated so many of us for so long from loved ones. With two children in New Zealand, I am prioritizing the needs of family who I will not have seen in two years. I would like to thank WestJet's founder Clive Beddoe, Onex and past and current board members and my Executive Leadership team who have all been tremendously supportive. My special thanks go to the remarkable group of people who call themselves WestJetters for everything they have achieved.”
Tawiq Popatia, WestJet Board Member and Senior Managing Partner at Onex, added,
“Ed was a critical part of Onex' investment in WestJet. 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.”
Prior to the Global COVID-19 pandemic, WestJet and subsidiary regional airlines, WestJet Encore and WestJet Link, offered scheduled service to over 110 destinations across North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. WestJet and WestJet Link continue to connect most Canadian domestic airports with reduced capacity, ensuring essential cargo and passenger connectivity. During these unprecedented times, the carrier has maintained their rating by Cirium as one of the top ten airlines for on-time performance in North America.
The video below includes a message from WestJet's President and CEO, Ed Sims.