Air Canada spring fete marks Russi retirement, new role for Lo

If last night (May 22) was any indication, things are going pretty well for Air Canada these days.

Led by Lisa Pierce, vice-president of global sales and Air Canada Vacations, the carrier’s sales team welcomed its VIP partners to a spring fete at the Sheraton Centre Hotel’s Waterfall Garden in Toronto on an evening when weather reports indicated that high winds, heavy rains and even possible tornadoes could be expected.

Which brings us back to things going well for Air Canada these days as the evening was warm and sunny, filled with animated conversations and a lovely spring breeze to keep everyone comfortable.

“Spring is a special time of the year … it is a time to celebrate blossoming flowers and partnerships – new routes and new beginnings,” Air Canada’s Lisa Pierce told the gathering.

Pierce continued: “It has also been a fantastic few weeks for Air Canada with many celebrations around the world as we launched and resumed several new routes.”

Highlights include:

  • Stockholm and Tulum from both Toronto and Montreal
  • Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Madrid, Toulouse, La Romana, Los Cabos, Austin and St. Louis from Montreal.
  • Bangkok, Dubai and Singapore from Vancouver
  • Osaka, Brussels, Monterrey, Fort de France, Charleston and Yellowknife from Toronto

And while celebrating the growth of its global network was one reason for the May 21 celebration, the other reason was to celebrate one of its own.

Virgilio Russi, the carrier’s vice president international sales, will retire on May 31 after a 30 year career travel — 28 of those years with Air Canada.

Noting that she’s had the pleasure of working with Russi for the past 11 years, Pierce said that: “He has been incredibly generous with his time, good humour, common sense and experience in nearly every department within Global Sales.”

In fact, Pierce pointed out that Russi “has been here for the birth of Star Alliance and [he has been] foundational in the development of our Atlantic Joint Venture partnership with United Airlines and Lufthansa.”

Addressing him directly, Pierce said: “Virgilio, your can-do, optimistic outlook on every challenge and opportunity has been invaluable to all of us. While we will miss you, it is comforting to know you are retiring on a high note after one of Air Canada’s most successful years in [its] history.”

For his part, Russi thanked all of the people that he has worked with ‘through thick and thin’ over the years, observing: “I leave with so many friends, which tells me I’ve done something right.”

And as Russi embarks on his new beginning, Pierce told the gathering that Rocky Lo will also have his own new beginning as he takes over Russi’s responsibilities for Air Canada’s International Sales.

In the photo 

Seen here, from l to r, are Air Canada’s Lisa Pierce, Virgilio Russi and Rocky Lo.