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Honorary degree citation - Calin Rovinescu

By: Stéphane Brutus, November 2016

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Mr. Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Canada’s largest airline, respected leader in the Canadian business community and generous philanthropist.

Mr. Rovinescu was born in Bucharest in 1955.

When he was six years old, he and his family came to Montreal with only $200 and two suitcases to their name, speaking neither English nor French.

From those humble roots, Mr. Rovinescu built an accomplished career for himself.

He joined Stikeman Elliott in Montreal in 1978 and by the time he left in 2000 was managing partner of the law firm.

In 2004, Mr. Rovinescu co-founded Genuity Capital Markets, an independent investment bank that merged with Canaccord Capital to form Canaccord Genuity Group.

Today the President and CEO of Air Canada, Mr. Rovinescu first joined the airline in 2000 as executive vice-president of corporate development and strategy.

He also held the key position of chief restructuring officer during the airline’s 2003-2004 restructuring.

Under his leadership, Air Canada has built its international franchise, ordered new wide-bodied jets to renew its aging fleet and reduced its annual costs by $500 million.

In 2013, for the first time since 2007, the country’s flagship carrier earned an after-tax profit — despite continued volatility within the industry.

It’s a testament to Mr. Rovinescu’s success during this transition that Air Canada was recently named the best international airline in North America in a passenger survey by Skytrax World Airline Awards.

Mr. Rovinescu is recognized across Canada for his strong business acumen.

A member of the Quebec and Ontario Bar Associations, he serves and has served on boards for organizations such as the International Air Transport Association, Star Alliance and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

Even beyond the business community, Mr. Rovinescu’s opinions are highly sought after.

In addition to his current role as Chancellor at the University of Ottawa, he has lent his expertise to boards for the Montreal University Health Centre, the Centaur Theatre, the Lakeshore General Hospital and the Montreal Chamber Orchestra.

A generous supporter of health, education and culture in Montreal, he chaired the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual Daffodil Ball and served as an honorary chair for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.

With honourary degrees from the University of Ottawa and Université de Montréal, Mr. Rovinescu is a respected leader with Canada.

More recently, he was named a Patron of Honor at the 2015 Ball for the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

He was honoured with the B’nai Brith Canada Award of Merit in 2011, received the Business Achievement award at the 2013 Canadian General Counsel Awards and was chosen that same year by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business as the Best CEO of 2013.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Mr. Calin Rovinescu, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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