28 AUG 2018: Aimia Inc. has named Nathaniel Felsher as president and chief strategy officer, less than a week after announcing a deal to sell its flagship Aeroplan loyalty programme to a consortium led by Air Canada. Felsher is from Deutsche Bank, where he co-headed the firm's aviation corporate and investment banking group.

He will report directly to chief executive Jeremy Rabe.

”Having worked with Nat in the past, I believe his knowledge of the global loyalty and aviation space, strong relationships and corporate finance skills will be a huge asset to our business going forward,” Rabe said in a statement Monday.

Aimia announced last week it would sell its Aeroplan loyalty programme to the Air Canada-led group, which includes TD Bank, CIBC and Visa Canada Corp.

The future of Aeroplan had faced questions since Air Canada rolled out plans to start its own loyalty rewards programme in 2020 after its partnership with Aimia expired.

The tentative $450-million Aeroplan deal reassured members they can continue to redeem their points for Air Canada flights, but left Aimia's direction up in the air.

Aimia chairman Robert Brown has called the transition a “pivotal period in our corporate history.”

Aimia's other assets include a 48 percent stake in Aeromexico's loyalty programme, PLM, and a 20 percent share of AirAsia's loyalty programme, Think Big.

Aimia management said in a conference call earlier this month it has considered further asset sales and a wind-up of the company. GMP Securities analyst Martin Landry speculated that Aimia “could resemble a holding company with limited assets.”

The agreement would leave the Montreal-based loyalty management firm with more than $1 billion in cash to invest elsewhere, according to Mittleman Brothers, Aimia's largest stakeholder at 17.6 percent.

Analysts predicted about 1,000 Aeroplan employees _ roughly 60 percent of Aimia's workforce, would transfer to Air Canada if the deal goes ahead.

”With the sale of Aeroplan, the focus for Aimia investors will shift to actual net proceeds received from the sale and the company's subsequent capital redeployment strategy,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Drew McReynolds said last week.

The Aeroplan deal is expected to wrap up this fall.

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