Amid pandemic challenges, Vancity president Tamara Vrooman to become YVR CEO

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      While air travel is one of the industries heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vancouver International Airport revealed who will be its new head even as it faces economic challenges.  

      Today (May 13) the Vancouver Airport Authority board of directors announced that Tamara Vrooman will succeed Craig Richmond as the president and CEO as of July 1.

      Richmond had announced on November 25 that he would be retiring on June 30 after seven years in his position. He had original joined YVR in 1995 and held various operational roles.

      Vrooman, who has spent nine years on the airport’s board of directors, has been the president and chief executive officer of Canada’s largest community credit union, Vancity, for 13 years. (Vrooman had recused herself from the board in 2019 during her participation as a candidate in the global search for a replacement for Richmond.)

      “She assumed leadership of Vancity at the beginning of the global financial crisis and transformed the business and service model, delivering record profitability and doubling its assets,” the YVR news release states.

      Vancouver International Airport

      Vancity manages over $28 billion in assets; has over 540,000 members at over 60 locations in B.C.; and has over 2,600 employees. Vrooman joined Vancity in September 2007 and the credit union stated in a news release today that it will name a new interim president and CEO who will begin on July 1. 

      Under Vrooman's leadership, Vancity became the first Canadian financial institution to join the United Nations' Collective Commitment to Climate Action, became a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, and was the first Canadian financial institution to be invited to join the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

      Vrooman previously served as a B.C. deputy minister of finance, overseeing the provincial government’s annual $100 billion borrowing and cash requirements and its $36 billion fiscal plan.

      Vrooman received the Order of British Columbia in 2019 and she will become the first woman at the helm of YVR.

      The announcement comes just as YVR was named the best airport in North America was well as the best airport in the 20 to 30 million passengers category in the 2020 Skytrax World Airport Awards. Fairmont Vancouver Airport was also named the best airport hotel in North America.

      However, the economic impact of the pandemic upon the airport and travel became evident earlier this week.

      On May 11, the Vancouver Airport Authority announced that it would be laying off approximately 140 employees, or 25 percent of the airport’s 550 staff.

      The airport is predicting a drop in passenger volume by anywhere from eight to 15 million from previous levels of up to 26 million.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook