January 24, 2006 08:30 ET

WestJet Announces Executive Vice-President Appointment

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 24, 2006) - WestJet (TSX:WJA) announced today changes to its executive team with the appointment of Matthew Handford to the position of Executive Vice-President, People. Fred Ring, who previously held this title, is now the airline's Executive Vice-President, Corporate Projects.

Matthew Handford comes to WestJet from Crystal Decisions Inc. in Vancouver, a leading business intelligence software company. Crystal, well-known for its high-performing and committed people culture, was acquired mid-IPO in December 2003 by Business Objects. Crystal has been recognized multiple times nationally and provincially as one of Canada's top employers. Matthew also held a variety of international roles with Nortel Networks in all areas of employee and labour relations; recruiting; organizational development; and HR leadership across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. As worldwide vice-president of human resources, Matthew has a Masters in Industrial Relations from Queens University in Kingston, ON.

Matthew, who joined WestJet in June of 2005 as a vice-president, will provide leadership to WestJet's People team (a.k.a. Human Resources) and ensure that their strategic direction contributes to the ongoing growth and future success of WestJet with their people remaining a key competitive advantage.

"We are very pleased that Matthew was willing and eager to take on this new responsibility and we welcome him to our Executive team," said Clive Beddoe, President and CEO of WestJet. "His new role in this important aspect of our organization will set the stage for continued success."

Fred Ring will now be responsible for the numerous special projects within all areas of WestJet that require a more dedicated executive responsibility. Fred joined WestJet in February 2001, having spent 32 years in the field of education. He successfully built the People and Training and Development teams at WestJet over the last four and a half years.

"The changes to the executive structure reinforce the commitment that WestJet has to its people and guests," added Beddoe. "The proven leadership and business judgment demonstrated by both Matthew and Fred as executives will help further strengthen our WestJet executive team."

WestJet is Canada's leading low-fare airline offering scheduled service throughout its 34-city North American network. Named Canada's most respected corporation for customer service in 2005, WestJet pioneered low-cost high-value flying in Canada. With increased legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and live seatback television provided by Bell ExpressVu on the majority of its fleet, WestJet strives to be the number one choice for travellers.

Contact Information

  • WestJet
    Media Relations
    Gillian Bentley
    (403) 444-2615
    Website: www.westjet.com