Following the acquisition of Signature Aviation, the world’s largest network of private aviation terminals (FBOs) in June 2021, the Board of Directors announced today the appointments of Michael Friisdahl as Executive Chairman and Tony Lefebvre as Chief Executive Officer.
Friisdahl, currently President & CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, will begin in his role effective March 1 and Lefebvre, who has served as interim CEO since June 2021, has been appointed CEO effective immediately.
“Both Michael and Tony bring decades of extensive strategic and operational experience from within and outside of the aviation industry that will allow Signature Aviation to build on our successes to date and accelerate our plans for growth,” said Lead Director Steve Bolze on behalf of the Signature Aviation Board of Directors and ownership consortium of Blackstone, Global Infrastructure Partners and Cascade Investment, L.L.C. “We are delighted with the strength of the Signature Aviation team, and its leadership with Michael and Tony at the helm, as we build on our position as the preeminent provider of private aviation terminals and services in the world.”
Friisdahl joins Signature Aviation as Executive Chairman following six years as President & CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) based in Toronto, Canada. MLSE is one of the world’s premier sports and entertainment companies, which includes ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Football Club and Toronto Argonauts as well as ownership or operations of all the venues its teams play and train in, including Scotiabank Arena.
Prior to joining MLSE in 2015, Friisdahl enjoyed a successful career in the travel and hospital industry, serving as President & CEO for Air Canada Leisure Travel Group, including Air Canada Rouge, and CEO of Thomas Cook North America. He brings an extensive background in sales, marketing, finance, mergers and acquisitions and business transformation to his role as Executive Chairman for the Signature Aviation Board of Directors. While at MLSE, Friisdahl prioritized a digital transformation and customer experience within the organization that resulted in innovations that improved efficiency and enhanced the fan experience.
“I am thrilled to be joining a world-class organization in Signature Aviation as it focuses on driving continued growth and delivering on an exceptional customer experience as the very best FBO provider in the world,” said Friisdahl. “I look forward to working closely with the Board and Tony in his role as CEO to build on the company’s many successes achieved to date while continually focusing on opportunities for evolution and growth in the future.”
Lefebvre brings over 30 years of diverse aviation experience to the CEO role. Prior to joining Signature Aviation, he spent several years at US Airways in various senior leadership roles before moving to Spirit Airlines, where he served as COO and part of the team that transformed the company into the highest margin airline in North America and created a new model for air travel in the US.
In 2013, Lefebvre joined Signature Aviation Group, serving as President and COO for several portfolio assets spanning commercial aviation, aftermarket support and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) prior to transitioning to Signature Flight Support in 2018 as COO, with responsibility for Signature’s over 200 global FBOs. In June 2021, he was appointed interim CEO following the acquisition of Signature Aviation and resulting transition from public to private ownership.
"I am deeply humbled by the trust and confidence of our Board of Directors in appointing me as the Chief Executive Officer of Signature Aviation. It is truly a privilege to lead the talented Signature team at a pivotal moment of unprecedented transformation and growth. I look forward to continuing to work with our team, our Board of Directors, and Michael to drive business growth and deliver exceptional and innovative experiences for our customers.”