MONTREAL, Nov. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Helicopters Income Fund (TSX: CHL.UN) announced today that Jean-Pierre Blais is retiring as President and Trustee of Canadian Helicopters, effective today. To ensure a smooth transition, Mr. Blais will remain as an advisor to Canadian Helicopters until January 1, 2010. The Board of Trustees of Canadian Helicopters Income Fund is pleased to announce that, effective today, Don Wall has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Helicopters and will accordingly take over Mr.Blais' previous responsibilities in addition to those he has held until now.
"The Board wants to highlight and recognize the outstanding contribution and accomplishments of Jean-Pierre Blais during his tenure. He provided strong leadership to Canadian Helicopters and, through exemplary teamwork with Don Wall, turned it into the industry leader that it is today. The Board also looks forward to the continuity of management's vision for Canadian Helicopters through the appointment of Don Wall in the newly created position of President and Chief Executive Officer," said Randall J. Findlay, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Mr. Wall has been serving as Senior Executive Vice President of Canadian Helicopters since the 2000 management buyout and has been serving as Trustee of Canadian Helicopters Income Fund since the 2005 initial public offering. Mr. Wall has held various positions with Canadian Helicopters and its predecessors for over 20 years, including President of CHC's Western Division, Corporate Treasury Manager and Director of Finance. Mr. Wall holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and is a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.
"I have enjoyed working with Jean-Pierre over the past 20 years but most especially since the management buy-out in 2000 and the subsequent IPO in 2005. We all wish him the very best in a well deserved retirement and hope that it is as rewarding for him as his working career has been. Looking forward to 2010 and beyond I feel optimism in spite of some challenges in the shorter term in some of our business. Our diversified portfolio of work within our industry has resulted in resilient financial performance to date and when combined with our strong capitalization, provide a springboard for future opportunities," said Mr. Wall.
Mr. Blais has held various positions with Canadian Helicopters and its predecessors for over 21 years. In 2000, Mr. Blais (then President of CHC's Eastern Division) with Don Wall (then President of CHC's Western Division) and the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec (F.T.Q.), led the management buyout of CHC's Eastern and Western Divisions (then CHC's two domestic onshore divisions) and became President of the resulting company. Under his joint leadership with Mr. Wall, the two divisions were successfully integrated and their fleet and fixed-base network successfully optimized and rationalized, thereby paving the way for the initial public offering of Canadian Helicopters Income Fund in 2005. Since the initial public offering, Jean-Pierre Blais and Don Wall have presided over the continued expansion, growth and diversification of Canadian Helicopters, which has consolidated its position as industry leader in helicopter transportation services in Canada.
"I am privileged to have had the opportunity to develop and lead Canadian Helicopters over the last 10 years in close collaboration with Don Wall and to have maintained the confidence of our staff, investors and other stakeholders over the same period," said Mr. Blais.
ABOUT CANADIAN HELICOPTERS INCOME FUND
Through Canadian Helicopters Limited, Canadian Helicopters Income Fund is the largest helicopter transportation services company operating in Canada and one of the largest in the world based on the size of its fleet. From over 40 base locations across Canada, Canadian Helicopters provides helicopter services to a broad range of sectors, including emergency medical services, infrastructure maintenance, military support, utilities, oil and gas, forestry, mining and construction. In addition to helicopter transportation services, Canadian Helicopters operates three flight schools and provides third party repair and maintenance services. With over 60 years of experience, Canadian Helicopters is an industry leader in establishing safety standards and operating procedures.
CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release contains forward-looking statements relating to the management of Canadian Helicopters, including continuity in its strategic orientations. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, and actual results or events may differ materially. Consequently, readers should not place any undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements relate to the date on which they were made. Canadian Helicopters disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise unless being required by applicable laws.
SOURCE HNZ Group Inc.
For further information: For further information: Don Wall, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Helicopters Income Fund, (780) 429-6919, (450) 452-3008