In what the Globe and Mail called “a remarkably candid interview,” Transat CEO Jean-Marc Eustache said he plans to step down and hand the chief executive job to current operations boss Annick Guérard, 46. "The old man is good but at one point, he's too old,” Eustache said.
The Globe says Transat is betting that new senior leadership and a concerted push into the sun destination hotel business will reverse its fortunes after a difficult decade on the stock market that wiped out three-quarters of its share value.
Eustache, 69, founded Transat 30 years ago with two friends. He will remain to oversee the company's emerging hotels strategy but says he will gradually reduce his involvement, also relinquishing the chairmanship. No specific timelines were given.
"I don't believe in dynasties," Eustache said. “So you have to put a new generation in charge that's going to build the company and bring it somewhere else."
It has been a tough 10 years for Transat shareholders, which include long-time institutional investors such as Letko, Brosseau and Associates and the FTQ Solidarity Fund. Transat's share price has plunged from $41.50 in NOV, 2007, to roughly $11 today, the result in part of competitive pressure as rivals Air Canada and WestJet have increased capacity to sun destinations.
But the Transat trendline this year has been much more positive.
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Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.