Pierre J. Jeanniot
IATA’S EVENT >>
30 AUGUST 2016 >>
Distinguished guests, friends and former colleagues
I am honored – and happy – to be part of this gathering on the occasion of “IATA’s Changing of the Guard”.
I have had the privilege, over the past few years, to get to know Tony Tyler and to witness his important contribution to the international aviation world. Tony’s style of leadership contrasted significantly from that of his immediate predecessor, reminding us that much can be accomplished by a persuasive, quiet and diplomatic style.
Many others have highlighted Tony’s many accomplishments which have been widely acclaimed, and I would not attempt to offend his well-known
modesty by repeating those numerous achievements here.
But I believe that I am expressing the sentiments of the entire Montreal international aviation community when I express our gratitude to Tony for his – and IATA’s – contribution here.
And in saying on their behalf, “au revoir, bon vent” and our best wishes in your future endeavours.
At the same time, I wish to say to Alexandre de Juniac “bien venu et nous espérons vous voir ici souvent – vous êtes chez vous!” as you will remember, of course, that IATA is a Canadian organization, having been created by an Act of the Canadian Parliament.
We all know that Alexandre brings to the Director General’s role – a unique combination of government experience, aerospace hi-tech manufacturing and, of course, airline leadership as CEO of a major international airline. He will require all of that experience and wisdom to steer IATA through the turbulent skies our industry faces all too frequently!
It has often been said that management is much more an “art” than a science.
Some business schools have yet to make that observation!
One of our well-known Canadian authors, “Pierre Burton”, once described a Canadian as “someone who can make love in a canoe”.
Now, I don’t know how many of you have ever tried, but I can assure you that to make love in a canoe takes a lot of determination, a certain acceptance of risk, and a great sense of equilibrium.
Determination, acceptance of risk, and a sense of equilibrium – those skills were very useful to me in my role at IATA, and I would encourage Alexandre to acquire a canoe if he does not own one already.
At times, some IATA meetings would remind me of Kevin Costner in the film “Dancing with Wolves”.
All the wolves need attention, but you must always remember that you could become fair game at any time!
Those meetings would sometimes illustrate that “common sense” is not as common as you may think.
It is useful for any Director General to practice the art of letting a consensus emerge. The D.G. does not really have the authority to impose a view. At best he can use “moral-suasion”. and appeal to the solidarity – and moral responsibility – of the participants, reminding them that an “imperfect agreement” is sometimes better than “no agreement”.
If, at the end of the day, you have not disappointed too many – and pleased quite a few – you must have done it right!
But unlike a science, art can mean different things to different people.
A visitor at a painting exhibition was truly puzzled by a Picasso painting and, since the artist was standing by, the visitor enquired
“Mr. Picasso, can you tell us what this painting means to you?”
Picasso smiled and replied “Oh,
approximately 200,000 US dollars!”
Unlike science, the art of management requires different styles for different circumstances, from Mother Theresa to Niccolo Machiavelli!
At times you need the agility of a politician
One of my favorite politicians would say “If you think it is easy to be a politician, try standing on a fence while keeping your ear to the ground!”
At other times, the role may call for the cold neutrality of an impartial judge.
Sometimes it may call for quick action. Le Prince de Talleyrand would say “the art of statesmanship is to foresee the inevitable, and to expedite its occurrence”.
In adversity, we can get some valuable lessons from Winston Churchill’s determination.
In his darkest hour, Churchill would convincingly declare “Never, never, never give up! And if you are going through hell just keep on going!”.
Ladies and gentlemen, it may be wise for me to stop here.
I do not want to sound like the “mother-in-law” giving advice to the newly weds.
It is easy for some of us who have been there to give good advice, perhaps simply to console ourselves that we are no longer in a position to set a bad example.
Once again, Tony, all the best to you!
And Alexandre, we wish you great success. I know that you can count on everyone here, myself included, to support you to the best of our abilities
Thank you very much.