From Junior Accounting Clerk to Senior Vice President of Service Worldwide of Canadian Airlines, Sid Fattedad has 24 years of stories to share with us, including his plan to save the airlines from a merger that would have created an airline monopoly for Canada. Want to learn more about your past Club President? Mr. Fattedad invites us to join him for his book launch, for “An Insider’s Story of the Rise and Fall of Canadian Airlines”, which will be held at TCC on January 21, 2015, and in the meantime a few words below to tie us over.
Please provide us with a brief overview of your career.[SF] I started my career in Hong Kong with KPMG. In 1968, I moved to Canada and joined Canadian Pacific Air Lines. My first position was a Junior Accounting Clerk and I moved progressively through various management positions until 1984 when I was promoted to Controller. Three years later Canadian Pacific Air Lines was sold to Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) and the two companies merged to form Canadian Airlines International (CAIL). At this time, I became the Vice President of Marketing and Operations for the most profitable division of the company – The Pacific Division. In 1989, I was promoted to third highest position in the company as Senior Vice President of Customer Service Worldwide. Three years later, I retired from the airline… or that’s what I had planned anyways. Shortly after I left CAIL, the company got into financial trouble and the President announced it would merge with Air Canada creating a domestic monopoly. The employees turned to me for help. I devised a plan where the employees would purchase a quarter of the company. I was able to get all major parties involved on board with the plan and led the Council of Employees to rescue the company from merging with Air Canada in 1992.
My career continued on after that. I went on to be the Chief Financial Officer for the Workers Compensation Board of British Columbia for 14 years from 1993 to 2007.
What would you describe as your biggest professional success?[SF] That would definitely have to be my time spent leading the employees of CAIL in the plan to rescue the airline from a merger with Air Canada.
What is one thing you have learned from your professional work that you wish to share with others?[SF] That trustworthiness and credibility are the two most important traits you can possess as a person. It always pays off to be a person of your word. Take the merger situation at CAIL for example, if all of the union leaders had not trusted me they wouldn’t have joined in our plan. They trusted me for my integrity and my ethics. The first thing I told the employees when they asked me to help them was that I was going to help save their jobs but I did not want a cent for doing it. I spent two years working 100% pro bono but the experience I gained was priceless.
We are honoured to be hosting the book launch for “An Insider’s Story of the Rise and Fall of Canadian Airlines” at the Club on January 14, 2015. Can you please tell us about the story and what inspired you to share it?[SF] It’s almost a love story – a love story between me and the company. I share my experience spent with the people of Canadian Airlines as it is those experiences that prepared me to help them further down the road. It was my pay back for what the company had gifted to me – my experience there. The memoir provides an insiders’ take on every merger the airline faced, many stories that people have not heard before. I wanted to clear the smoke. I wanted people to know the true story.
How long have you been working on your book? [SF] I started to write the story when I retired from the Workers Compensation Board in 2007. I was involved in every merger the Canadian Airlines went through in its lifetime so I guess you could say I had a lot to share.
Why did you become a member of Terminal City Club?[SF] When I was promoted to Controller of Canadian Airlines the Company provided me with the choice of membership at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club or TCC. At the time it was an easy choice because I didn’t play golf and TCC was closer to my office downtown. I started to use the Club for everything from business meetings to entertaining my friends and family. I became so committed to the Club that I joined the Board and stayed on for ten years culminating as President in 2010.
What do you enjoy the most about the Club?[SF] It’s the sense you belong. It became my home away from home. TCC provides you with a special connection to the business community and you get to meet so many interesting people. It’s such a great place to be!
Favourite dish?[SF] The Tri’s Crab & Shrimp Salad in The Grill!
What would you say to someone considering joining TCC?[SF] You can’t lose! You get out of it exactly what you put in. If you want to get a lot of good out of it you have to put in the time and effort yourself. Oh, and don’t be shy!