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Sean Durfy announces resignation from WestJet
CNW Group

Gregg Saretsky appointed new President and CEO

CALGARY, March 15 /CNW/ - WestJet today announced the resignation of President and CEO Sean Durfy effective April 1, 2010. Mr. Durfy will also resign from the board of directors at that time. Mr. Durfy has cited personal reasons for his departure.

"This was a very difficult decision for me; however, after careful consideration, I have decided that this is best for me and my family," said Sean Durfy. "Those things I set out to accomplish at WestJet have now been achieved and I believe this is an appropriate time to allow others to carry the torch while I spend more time with my young family."

Sean Durfy joined WestJet in 2004 as an Executive Vice-President responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company's marketing, sales and airport operations functions and leading the introduction of the successful WestJet owner's communications platform. In September 2006, he was appointed President and assumed the role of CEO in September 2007. He spearheaded the company's long-term strategic growth initiatives, which led to the successful launch of WestJet Vacations and, most recently, the implementation of two new reservation systems, airline partnerships and the WestJet reward programs.

Sean Durfy commented, "I am immensely proud of all we have accomplished together. I am most proud of the fact that I leave with WestJet's renowned culture stronger than ever and that the 'little airline that could' is positioned to accomplish the vision we have put forth - to be one of the most successful international airlines in the world by 2016."

Clive Beddoe, WestJet Chairman, added, "We will miss Sean's passion and leadership at the executive and board level and we sincerely thank him for his tremendous contributions to WestJet over the past several years."

A special committee of the board undertook a process to manage the selection of a new President and CEO.

"After a search for the most suitable candidate capable of supporting our planned growth, extending our brand strength and leading our award-winning culture, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Gregg Saretsky as President and CEO of WestJet effective April 1, 2010," commented Clive Beddoe.

Gregg Saretsky joined WestJet in June 2009 as Vice-President, WestJet Vacations, before assuming the role of Executive Vice-President, Operations, in October 2009.

"As a 25-year airline industry veteran, Gregg has been a valuable member of WestJet's executive team. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the President and CEO role and we are confident his background will provide the leadership and experience required to achieve our strategic plans," continued Clive Beddoe.

Gregg Saretsky began his career in the airline industry in 1985 with Canadian Airlines. While at Canadian, he held a number of operations and marketing roles, including Vice-President, Airports, and Vice-President, Passenger Marketing. Following his departure from Canadian in 1998, Gregg joined Seattle-based Alaska Airlines as Executive Vice-President, Marketing and Planning. In December 2008, he left Alaska as Executive Vice-President, Flight and Marketing. With his combined tenure as a seasoned airline executive, Gregg has extensive experience successfully operating within one of the most competitive airline markets in the world and an impressive track record on the commercial and operations sides of the business.

His many accomplishments at Alaska include establishing airline alliances; he developed one of the most effective networks of partners among U.S. airlines, which supported the airline's rapid growth and profitability. In addition, he developed new ancillary revenue streams, including an award-winning reward program. Gregg was also instrumental in the establishment of many cost-saving initiatives, making Alaska one of the most efficient airlines in North America.

"These qualifications along with his demonstrated ability to lead a guest-focused culture are ideal for charting and executing our flight path ahead," said Clive Beddoe.

"I'm absolutely delighted by this new opportunity," said Gregg Saretsky. "WestJet has been the envy of the airline industry for a number of years. As a proud Canadian, I am amazed by what this organization has achieved in its 14-year history. I am also honoured to be associated with, and leading a team of, exceptional WestJetters who have created a remarkable company culture, a renowned brand and a formidable airline. I look forward to the many opportunities we have in front of us to continue to profitably grow our airline and fulfil our vision."

Sean Durfy has agreed to remain with WestJet until September 1, 2010, and will assist the company with the transition. An executive search to replace Mr. Saretsky's Executive Vice-President, Operations, role will commence immediately.


About WestJet

WestJet is Canada's preferred airline, offering scheduled service throughout its 69-city North American and Caribbean network. Inducted into Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures Hall of Fame and named one of Canada's best employers, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. WestJet offers increased legroom, leather seats and live seatback television provided by Bell TV on its modern fleet of 88 Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. With future confirmed deliveries for an additional 47 aircraft through 2016, WestJet strives to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world.

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