Virtual Event: The State of the Skies
Panel: Helane Becker, Jim Butler, Tim Strauss and Mark Williams, moderated by Amber Kanwar
” North American Airlines in a Post-COVID World “
Apr 30, 2020
As COVID-19 has halted Canadians’ travel plans, the question becomes: how will airlines and travel providers shift their focus toward providing a new era of travel in a post-pandemic world?
Join Canadian Club Toronto as we explore how the airline industry is adapting and moving forward during these uncertain times, and how they plan to create a new blueprint for North American airlines. Our esteemed panel will discuss impacts on domestic and international travel, the ways in which they plan to stay successful under difficult circumstances, and how some airlines are making the shift to cargo. This expert panel will be moderated by BNN Bloomberg Anchor, Amber Kanwar, and will feature:
Helane Becker – Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst: Airlines, Air Freight and Aircraft Leasing, Cowen
Jim Butler – Senior Vice-President, International & Cargo, American Airlines Inc.
Tim Strauss – Vice President, Cargo, Air Canada
Mark Williams – President, Sunwing Airlines Inc.
Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst: Airlines, Air Freight and Aircraft Leasing, Cowen
Helane Becker is a Managing Director and senior research analyst covering airlines, air freight and aircraft leasing. She has more than 35 years of experience on Wall Street, holding positions within the research, trading and investment banking departments of several global broker/dealers. She has been ranked as the #1, 2 or 3 analyst by Institutional Investor magazine, as well as in the top 5 analysts by The Wall Street Journal. Ms Becker is currently ranked in the top 3 in various StarMine analyst categories. Considered an airline industry authority, Helane frequently speaks at global industry events and conferences and is interviewed by news outlets including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Barron’s and others.
She is a member of the international honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma and is currently on the Advisory Board of the Feliciano School of Business at Montclair State University. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the MSU Advisory Board, was co-lead of the Accelerator team and currently leads the CFA team. Helane previously served three terms on the US Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. She is a currently a member of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Task Force on Climate Change.
Ms. Becker holds a Bachelor’s degree from Montclair State University and a Masters of Business Administration from New York University.
Senior Vice President, Airport Operations and Cargo, American Airlines Inc.
Jim Butler was named Senior Vice President of Airport Operations and Cargo in October 2019. He leads domestic and international airport operations and is responsible for the airline’s Cargo business, including operations, marketing, sales and overall strategy.
Jim has more than 20 years of experience in the airline industry and previously led the airlines international and Cargo operations. Prior to this, Jim was President of Cargo and Managing Director of Commercial Planning and Performance, where he was responsible for American’s mainline and regional fleet, network profitability analysis, large-scale strategic project oversight and commercial budgets. In 2013, he was responsible for the commercial business plan through restructuring and, later, was named to the team responsible for integrating American Airlines and US Airways.
Since joining American Airlines in 1996, he has worked in several departments and has developed an extensive background in sales, marketing, pricing and operations and finance. He has held positions that were based domestically. In London and also in Buenos Aires, where he oversaw revenue management for American and Aerolineas Aregentinas.
He was a member of IATA Cargo Committee and the A4A Cargo Executive Council and has served as a member of the board of directors for the UK Board of Airline Representatives and the Joint Steering team at London’s Heathrow Airport. He is fluent in Spanish and is a licensed private pilot.
Jim earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Management from Cornell University and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Vice President, Cargo, Air Canada
Tim Strauss was appointed Vice President, Cargo in April 2017, with oversight for all aspects of Air Canada’s cargo business, including leading, directing, developing and implementing customer-centric initiatives and solutions, and responsibility for commercial business and its profitability.
Strauss has more than 31 years of cargo experience in both the airline and freight forwarding industries. Prior to joining the company, Strauss held leadership roles in global sales and operations at Northwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and in Hawaiian Airlines. He began his career with Emery Worldwide in 1987 (now UPS Supply Chain Logistics) where he held roles of increasing responsibility, starting as a cargo handler and completing his tenure as Vice President of Transportation and Logistics.
Mr. Strauss advanced his understanding of the logistics industry via studies in management at The Ohio State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cambridge Institute.
President, Sunwing Airlines Inc.
Mark Williams brings over 25 years of global aviation experience to his position as President of Sunwing Airlines Inc. Trained as a Chartered Accountant, Williams partners strong financial models with the needs of the Canadian airline consumer.
After graduating from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario with an HBA in Business Administration in 1983, Williams worked at KPMG as a Public Accountant and received a Chartered Accountant designation in 1987. In 1988, he moved into the airline industry with Wardair Canada in Toronto. After Wardair was purchased by Canadian Airlines in 1989, Williams moved to Calgary, Alberta.
From 1989 to 2000, he held progressively more senior positions with Canadian Airlines including Manager of Business Planning/Financial Analysis, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis and Vice-President and Controller. During his time with the company, Williams was given several key operations roles, including redesigning the company’s supply chain management strategies and developing Vancouver into a hub airport for the airline.
When the airline was purchased by Air Canada, Williams moved to Dallas, Texas where he worked from 2001 to 2003 as Chief Financial Officer for Aeroxchange Ltd., a leading aviation technology company focused on developing software for the Global aviation supply chain community.
Williams’ skills were soon sought out back home where he was offered a position in Toronto as President and Chief Operating Officer of Skyservice Airlines Inc., where he worked from 2003-2004. Williams left Skyservice in 2004 and immediately started working with Colin and Stephen Hunter, owners of Sunwing Vacations, on a start up airline to compliment their existing tour operating business. Sunwing Airlines first flight was on November 17, 2005 and since then, Sunwing Travel Group has grown to become one of the largest vertically integrated travel companies in Canada. Williams is also the Past Chairman of the Board of The Air Transportation Association of Canada.
Anchor and Report, BNN Bloomberg
Amber Kanwar is an anchor and reporter appearing on The Open and The Disruptors. Kanwar is a relentless digger, always looking for ways to break news and bring exclusive information and insight to BNN Bloomberg’s audience.
Amber is a homegrown product of the BNN Bloomberg newsroom, working her way up from intern, to segment producer, and now to anchor. She specializes in equity markets and is constantly seeking out stocks flying under the radar, trends that are about to emerge, and curating research to make it accessible to viewers.She is a leader in breaking news; reporting on Canada’s booming online gaming sector, activist interest in one of Canada’s biggest pipeline companies and one of the most plugged in reporters on the turnaround effort at BlackBerry.
Amber has interviewed CEOs from across Canada’s C-Suite including Blackberry’s John Chen, Manulife’s Don Guloien, and Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan’s Jim Leech to name a few. Prior to joining BNN Bloomberg, Amber completed her Master of Journalism degree at Ryerson University. Her Master’s thesis was an investigative story into the fertility industry that broke a national scandal and appeared on the front page of The Globe and Mail.
When Amber is not poring over analyst reports, you can find her at Monk’s Café enjoying the big salad or duck hunting in West Monroe, Louisiana.