Calin Rovinescu named University of Ottawa Chancellor

Posted on Monday, November 9, 2015

The University of Ottawa is proud to announce the appointment of Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive officer of Air Canada, as chancellor. Mr. Rovinescu becomes the 14th chancellor in the University's history November 9, 2015, succeeding the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, who stepped down as chancellor last April when she was elected secretary general of the Organisation international de la Francophonie.

"It is a great honor to welcome Calin Rovinescu. He is an outstanding alumnus, who will engage with the university community and beyond to help propel the University to its next stage of accomplishment. On behalf of our university community, I want to thank him for having accepted this nomination," said President and Vice-Chancellor Allan Rock.

"Mr. Rovinescu has shown strong leadership in a highly competitive business and is renowned around the world. He will be a great bilingual ambassador for our university," said Robert Giroux, chair of the Board of Governors.

"I'm extremely honoured to accept this appointment and I thank the members of the Board of Governors and the Senate, as well as the president of the University, for the trust they have placed in me. At this time, I also wish to send greetings to the faculty and students of this great institution - I look forward to proudly reflecting their goals and achievements." said the new Chancellor.

Calin Rovinescu received a DEC from McGill University in 1974 before earning a degree in civil law from the University of Montreal in 1978 and in common law from the University of Ottawa in 1980.

He then embarked on a distinguished 20-year career in corporate law in Canada and the United Kingdom, rising to become the Managing Partner of Montreal law firm Stikeman, Elliott, one of Canada's leading business law firms, where he advised enterprises in Canada, the U.S. and Europe on merger and acquisition transactions, corporate finance, privatizations and restructurings in various industries.

He first joined Air Canada in April 2000, serving in a variety of senior management positions, including as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy, Chairman of its various subsidiaries and as Chief Restructuring Officer until April 2004. In November, 2004, he became a co-founder and Principal of Genuity Capital Markets, an independent investment bank.

Mr. Rovinescu returned to Air Canada on April 1, 2009, as President and Chief Executive Officer. At a time of economic turbulence and financial distress, he piloted the airline's transformation to global expansion, and soaring profitability while eliminating the significant drag of its $3.7 B pension plan deficit. As a result, in 2013, Report on Business magazine named him Canada's best CEO.

In 2012, Calin Rovinescu was elected chair of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board, the controlling body of the 27-member Star Alliance network of airlines. In June 2014, he was elected to chair the board of governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). That same year, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa in recognition of his distinguished career in corporate law and business.

Mr. Rovinescu will be officially installed as chancellor at a special ceremony at a later date.

The University of Ottawa also wishes to thank Michaëlle Jean for her service as chancellor. She has worked vigorously and with conviction to raise awareness of our programs both in Canada and abroad. She has also been a catalyst for several partnership agreements between the University of Ottawa and institutes of higher learning in French-speaking countries. As well, she has spoken passionately of the excellence of our programs and the linguistic duality which is at the heart of our mission.

The nomination of the new chancellor results from an open and transparent selection process. The chancellor is appointed by the Board of Governors with the concurrence of the Senate and holds office for four years, with eligibility for re-appointment. The chancellor is the titular head of the University and is accorded the place of honour at Convocation and other functions.

Learn more on the selection of the chancellor.

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