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WestJet's CEO Durfy steps down for personal reasons

Canadian carrier WestJet's president and CEO Sean Durfy has resigned for personal reasons with effect from 1 April, and will also leave the airline's board.

He will be succeeded by Gregg Saretsky, the airline's executive VP for operations.

"This was a very difficult decision for me. However, after careful consideration, I have decided that this is best for me and my family," says Durfy.

"Those things I set out to accomplish at WestJet have now been achieved and I believe this is an appropriate time to allow others to carry the torch while I spend more time with my young family."

Durfy was appointed the airline's president in September 2006, and assumed the role of CEO in September 2007.

He began his career at WestJet in 2004 as executive VP in charge of the carrier's marketing, sales and airport operations.

"We will miss Sean's passion and leadership at the executive and board level and we sincerely thank him for his tremendous contributions to WestJet over the past several years," says WestJet's chairman Clive Beddoe.

Saretsky was appointed Durfy's successor after a selection process led by a special committee of the airline's board.

"As a 25-year airline veteran, Gregg has been a valuable member of WestJet's executive team. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the president and CEO role and we are confident his background will provide the leadership and experience required to achieve our strategic plans," says Beddoe.

Saretsky had previously worked at Canadian Airlines and Alaska Airlines in a series of marketing and operations roles, before joining WestJet in June 2009.

"I'm absolutely delighted by this new opportunity... I look forward to the many opportunities we have in front of us to continue to profitably grow our airline and fulfill our vision," says Saretsky,

Durfy will remain with WestJet until 1 September to assist the carrier with the transition, says the airline. The carrier will begin a search for a new executive VP for operations to replace Saretsky.

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