University Chancellor Calin Rovinescu, LLB ’80, retires from Air Canada

Posted on Monday, April 12, 2021

Calin Rovinescu, LLB ’80

In December 2020, Air Canada announced that its President and Chief Executive Officer, Calin Rovinescu, LLB ’80, was to retire on February 15th, 2021.

Throughout the years, Calin Rovinescu has kept close ties with his alma mater. He solidified these ties by becoming the University of Ottawa Chancellor in 2015. His term continues until 2022.

A determined and ambitious first-generation Canadian, Calin Rovinescu first 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

Excerpt from his 2014 convocation address:

“[In] 1986, I was a 30-year-old lawyer at the Stikeman Elliott law firm and had just finished working on the Air Canada privatization. After the closing, the CEO of Air Canada, Claude Taylor, invited me to a lunch at a private club to get my views of what was needed for Air Canada to move successfully into the private sector after having been a crown corporation for 50 years. Imagine: a young lawyer having a one-on-one with the CEO of Air Canada... well, as you can see, that one empowering lunch has certainly had an influence on my life.”

In 2018, Mr. Rovinescu was appointed a member of the Order of Canada for promoting the associated charitable causes and organizations of Canada's largest airline, and for his leadership in spearheading humanitarian relief following several natural disasters. In 2019 it was announced that he would be inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

In 2019, Calin and Elaine Rovinescu announced the creation of the Rovinescu Admission Scholarships for new Canadians, to benefit undergraduate and professional degree students at both the University of Ottawa and Université de Montréal, through a generous gift of $2 million, to be divided equally between the two universities. The Rovinescu Scholarships provide first-generation Canadians or children of immigrants to Canada, with the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s or professional degree designation at either university.

“The promise of a better life – that is what a university degree represents for me. There is a long history of chasing dreams in my family. For my parents, that dream was coming to Canada to create a better life for them and their children. For me, that dream is to reach my full potential doing what I love. This scholarship has brought me closer to realizing my dream, and for that, I am extremely grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Rovinescu.”
- Lizhe

The Chancellor is the titular head of the University and, accordingly, occupies the place of honor at commencement exercises and other functions. He is ex-officio a member of the Senate and is appointed by the Board of Governors, with the concurrence of the Senate, for a term of four years. The Chancellor is also an Honorary Member of the Board for the duration of his term and enjoys all the rights and privileges of an Honorary Member. He may be reappointed at the end of his term.

Join us in wishing him congratulations on his retirement and we look forward to our continues collaborations.


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