WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After almost eight years in the position
  • Accolades, praise, thanks and good wishes for Saretsky
  • Ed Sims taking over
  • Saretsky spoke at length and said 108 words

(exechange) — Calgary, Alberta, Canada, March 8, 2018 — Gregg Saretsky, chief executive of WestJet, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by WestJet Airlines Ltd. in a news release on Thursday, March 8, 2018, Gregg Saretsky leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the Canadian low-cost airline after almost eight years in the position, effective immediately.

Saretsky’s duties will be taken over by Edward (Ed) Sims, most recently Executive Vice-President Commercial of WestJet Airlines Ltd.

“Having found his successor”

Saretsky’s sudden departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. WestJet said: “Having found his successor, he has agreed with the company that his retirement will be effective immediately.”

Precise information about Saretsky’s future plans was not immediately available.

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often a wake-up call for stockholders when a CEO leaves the position abruptly and without comprehensible reasons being given.

“The time has come for him”

WestJet said: “Gregg Saretsky, President and CEO, has advised the time has come for him to retire from the company.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of WestJet Airlines Ltd. since December 2014.

Chaired by Clive Beddoe

WestJet Airlines Ltd. is chaired by Clive Beddoe.

Clive Beddoe is a founding shareholder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of WestJet. In September 2007, Beddoe was appointed WestJet Chairman having previously held the roles of President and Chief Executive Officer.

In the position of CEO since 2010

Gregg Saretsky became WestJet President and Chief Executive Officer in April 2010.

As President and CEO, Saretsky was responsible for both the strategic direction of the company and the day-to-day operations of the airline.

Saretsky was named Alberta’s Business Person of the Year for 2012 by Alberta Venture magazine, an award he accepted on behalf of (at that time) all 9,000 WestJetters who work hard each and every day to deliver a remarkable guest experience.

In 2013, Saretsky was also named Top New CEO of the Year by Canadian Business Magazine, an award bestowed on a CEO who has transformed his company within the first five years of his appointment.

In addition, Saretsky received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Concordia University in 2014, and was the recipient of the David Foster Foundation Visionary Award as Canada’s National Business Leader of the Year in 2015.

Saretsky joined WestJet in June 2009 as Vice-President, WestJet Vacations, before being named Executive Vice-President, Operations, in October 2009.

In this capacity, Saretsky was responsible for flight operations, inflight service, airport guest services, WestJet’s operations control centre, and technical operations (maintenance).

Saretsky began his career in aviation with Canadian Airlines in 1985 and rose through the ranks to the position of Vice-President, Airports, and Vice-President, Marketing, before joining Alaska Airlines in 1998 as Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Planning, and then Executive Vice-President of Flight Operations and Marketing, responsible for the airline’s flight crews, operations, and consumer programs and activities.

Saretsky led the development of Alaska Airlines’ alliance strategy and was instrumental in building new airline and tour operator partnerships.

Saretsky is currently a board member of the Conference Board of Canada and vice-chair of the board of alumni for the University of British Columbia.

Born and raised in Montreal, Saretsky grew up in Quebec and British Columbia, graduating from UBC with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

An avid globe-trotter, Saretsky has visited more than 255 cities in 36 countries and is still working to master French and Spanish language skills.

Saretsky and his wife, Debb, enjoy skiing and travelling with their children Mark, Jennifer and Bobby.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Gregg Saretsky’s sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 11.2018 ($).