The WestJet Group has announced that Harry Taylor will assume the interim role of president and Chief Executive Officer with a transition period taking place between late November and mid-December 2021.
Current CEO Ed Sims announced his retirement on June 9, 2021.
"I am extremely pleased Harry has agreed to take on this interim role," said the WestJet Group Board Chair Chris Burley. "Our global search for a permanent CEO continues, and on behalf of WestJet and the board, we are grateful Harry has stepped up to help us through this critical transition. Harry has been an integral part of our pandemic planning and recovery, and it is his painstaking attention to our finances and his unique perspective that helped us through."
"As we continue to navigate our way through the remainder of the pandemic, Harry's experience in the industry, combined with his deep appreciation and understanding of the WestJet culture will be a tremendous asset as we work to rebuild our airline and deliver on the five-year plan for our people and our guests."
"A tremendous honour"
"It is a tremendous honour to be asked to serve as interim CEO for the WestJet Group, and I look forward to leading our organization through this crucial phase of our recovery," said Taylor. "There is much work to be done, while we continue our search for a permanent CEO. I am confident my experience as CFO through this crisis, combined with my tenure at WestJet, will set us up for success until such time as we welcome our new CEO."
Harry Taylor joined WestJet in 2015 as Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
During this time, he led the airline's inaugural U.S. bond issue, negotiated the purchase of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing MAX aircraft, and was instrumental in the sale of WestJet to Onex.
Through the pandemic, Harry led the finance team in managing WestJet's liquidity to ensure sustainability with little to no revenue coming in.
While Harry serves as interim CEO, Jennifer Bue, WestJet's current Vice-President, Finance Planning & Analysis will serve as interim CFO.
Jenn joined WestJet in 2008 and has held various leadership roles in corporate planning, treasury, accounting and was head of finance at Swoop.
Prior to WestJet, Jenn worked at Deloitte and at RBC in equity research. Jenn holds designations as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and has a Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) and a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm).
"With my transition into my new role, I am delighted Jenn Bue has agreed to become our interim CFO," said Taylor. "Jenn's knowledge and experience, combined with her invaluable leadership throughout the pandemic, will enable her to be a terrific leader as we continue to rebuild our airline and deliver on our growth strategy."