Review individual biographies by clicking the board member's name.
Mr. Burley has served on the WestJet Group Board of Directors since September 2015.
In 2019, Mr. Burley became Chairman of the Board of Directors, where prior he served as Vice-Chair of the Board. Overseeing unprecedented changes in the Canadian aviation landscape, his knowledge of WestJet combined with his corporate governance and investment banking experience have been an unequivocal asset in creating a more resilient WestJet Group.
The former head of Canadian Energy and Power and Vice Chairman of Energy for Merrill Lynch, Mr. Burley currently serves as Audit Chair and Independent Director of Nutrien Ltd. In addition, he is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and serves on its Climate Strategy Advisory Board.
Mr. Burley holds a Bachelor of Science with a Certificate of Honours Standing (Geophysics) and a Master of Business Administration from Western University.
Mr. Cruz has served on the WestJet Group Board of Directors since November 2021.
Between 2016 and 2020, Mr. Cruz was the CEO and Chairman of British Airways. Prior to that role, Mr. Cruz founded and served as the CEO of Clickair, a low-cost airline that quickly grew under his leadership before merging with Vueling in July of 2009, creating Spain's leading airline. During his tenure, Vueling became one of Europe's most successful low-cost carriers.
Commencing his professional career with American Airlines, Mr. Cruz held a variety of management roles before founding his own aviation consulting company, leading projects with airlines around the world, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Delta, Continental and Ansett Australia, as well as travel companies like lastminute.com, BAA, Swissport and Amadeus. Mr. Cruz currently serves on the boards of Fetcherr Ltd and Recaro and serves as Executive Chairman for PortAventura World.
Mr. Cruz holds a Master of Science in industrial engineering from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University.
Mr. Smith has served on the WestJet Group Board of Directors since October 2021.
Mr. Smith was appointed Air France-KLM Group’s Chief Executive Officer in August 2018. Prior to joining Air France-KLM, Mr. Smith served in multiple executive positions within Air Canada.
During his tenure at Air Canada, the airline’s size and profitability grew exponentially with its customer products and services consistently rated best in North America. In 2003, he was appointed Vice President Network Planning, leading the airline’s commercial strategy and global expansion focused on developing three hubs in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. In 2007, he was appointed Chief Commercial Officer and in 2013, he launched Air Canada Rouge, the company’s leisure brand. In 2014, Mr. Smith acted as the chief negotiator with the airline's pilot and cabin crew unions, resulting in landmark 10-year collective agreements.
In his final position at the company, Mr. Smith served as President, Airlines and Chief Operating Officer with all-encompassing commercial and operational responsibilities for Air Canada, Rouge, Express, Cargo, Aeroplan, and Vacations. Currently, he serves on the Air France-KLM Group Board of Directors.
Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Western Ontario.
Alexis began his role as Chief Executive Officer, WestJet in February of 2022.
Responsible for the overall leadership of the WestJet Group of Companies, Alexis harnesses the power of WestJet’s people, fleet and technology to strategically position the airline for long-term profitable success.
Prior to joining WestJet, Alexis spent 16 years at the Lufthansa Group, his last role being the CEO and CFO of Austrian Airlines where, during his three-and-a-half-year tenure, he restructured the airline and its network to compete with ultra-low-cost-carrier (ULCC) competition in Austria. In addition, Alexis was instrumental in successfully leading the company through the COVID-19 crisis. Previous roles within the Lufthansa Group included Chief Commercial Officer of Lufthansa Cargo AG, head of commercial at the airline's biggest hub in Frankfurt, and head of strategy and investment management for the Lufthansa airline.
Born in Cologne, Germany, Alexis attended the University of Bonn, where he received his Physics diploma in 1995 and later, completed his PhD at Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in 1999. Alexis spent his early career at The Boston Consulting Group, working out of their Munich and Tokyo offices, with a strong focus on clients from the aviation industry.
Ms. Durocher has served on the WestJet Group Board of Directors since August 2023.
Ms. Durocher was most recently the Chief Executive Officer of Rogers Bank and Executive Vice-President, Financial Services of Rogers Communications. Joining Rogers in 2016, Ms. Durocher became Chief Digital Officer later that year, where she drove the strategy and accelerated transformation of Rogers’ digital program offerings.
A veteran in the digital and technology space, Ms. Durocher spent more than a decade at American Express, where she held a variety of senior leadership positions across digital product and technology development, loyalty program management, strategy execution as well as global advertising and marketing. Ms. Durocher also spent seven years running product and technology for global business and consumer travel at Amex. Presently, Ms. Durocher is a member of the Fortis Board of Directors.
Ms. Durocher holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfred Laurier University.
Mr. Fornaro has served on the WestJet Group Board of Directors since April 2020.
With more than 40 years of marketing, planning, finance and general management experience, Mr. Fornaro spent three years as Chief Executive Officer of Spirit Airlines from 2016 to 2018 and served on the airline’s board of directors from 2014 through 2019.
In 1999, Mr. Fornaro joined AirTran Airways as president and Chief Financial Officer. He was named Chief Operating Officer and elected to the board of directors in 2001, before becoming the Chief Executive Officer in 2007. AirTran was one of the most successful low-cost carriers in America and was sold to Southwest Airlines in 2011. Prior to joining AirTran, Mr. Fornaro operated a successful aviation consulting practice and previously served as Senior Vice-President Planning for US Airways and Senior Vice-President Marketing Planning and Alliances at Northwest Airlines. Mr. Fornaro also currently serves as a board member of H2 Clipper, Avianca Airlines and acts as an advisor to Southwest Airlines.
Mr. Fornaro holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Economics from Rutgers College.
Mr. Mueller has served on the WestJet Board of Directors since January 2020.
He is a Non-Executive Director of Cathay Pacific as well as Oman Air. Previously, Mr. Mueller was Chief Executive Officer of Sabena S.A., Hapag-Lloyd, Aer Lingus and Malaysia Airlines and Group Chief Financial Officer of DHL Global. Mr. Mueller was also the Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at the Emirates Group in Dubai.
Mr. Mueller has served on several boards, including Swissport International (Chairman), Inmarsat, Eurocontrol (Chair), Brussels Airlines (Founding Chairman), An Post (Chair) and was previously President of the International Air Carrier Association (IACA) in Brussels.
Mr. Mueller holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Cologne and has completed an Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Mr. Popatia is the Senior Managing Director at Onex Partners and a member of the board at WestJet. He is responsible for Onex Partners’ efforts in automation, aerospace and transportation-focused industries and is a member of Onex Partners' Investment Committee. Since joining Onex, Mr. Popatia has led Onex Partners’ investments in WestJet, Advanced Integration Technology (AIT) and BBAM and its related investments in FLY Leasing and Meridian Aviation.
In addition to serving on WestJet’s board, Mr. Popatia also serves AIT, BBAM and Celestica and previously served on the board of Spirit AeroSystems. He is a Trustee of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) Foundation a former Employer Trustee of the International Association of Machinists National Pension Fund.
Prior to joining Onex, Mr. Popatia worked at Hellman & Friedman LLC, a San Francisco-based private equity firm. Previously, Mr. Popatia worked in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley & Co. and Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific.
Mr. Popatia graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B. Sc. and B. Comm. (Honours).
Mr. Hemani is a Managing Director at Onex Partners. He focuses on Onex’ investments in the Aerospace & Defense, Automation and Transportation & Logistics sectors.
In addition to WestJet, he serves on the board of Advanced Integration Technology (AIT).
Prior to joining Onex, Mr. Hemani worked at Francisco Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity firm where he completed acquisitions, advised portfolio companies and evaluated opportunities in the technology sector. Previously, Mr. Hemani was a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company.
Mr. Mueller is a Managing Director at Onex Partners and a member of the WestJet board. He is responsible for Onex Partners’ efforts in the industrial manufacturing & services sectors. Since joining Onex, Mr. Mueller has worked on Onex Partners’ investments in WestJet, Advanced Integration Technology (AIT), KraussMaffei Group, and BBAM and its related investments in FLY Leasing and Meridian Aviation.
Mr. Mueller additionally serves on the boards of WireCo and Meridian Aviation, and previously served on the board of KraussMaffei Group.
Prior to joining Onex, he worked at The Boston Consulting Group in Zurich, Switzerland.
Mr. Mueller holds an M.B.A. (with Distinction) from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.