Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu is the new chairman of the IATA board of governors, a trade association representing some 240 airlines.
Rovinescu's term is for one year, effective immediately.
He succeeds Delta Air Lines chief executive Richard Anderson whose term expired at the end of IATA's annual meeting and world air transport summit in Doha, Qatar.
Rovinescu joined Air Canada in 2000 and was chief restructuring officer during the airline's 2003-2004 restructuring before leaving to help found Genuity Capital Markets.
He was named chief executive of the airline in 2009.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) helps formulate industry policy on aviation issues, representing 240 airlines that carry 84 per cent of all passengers and cargo worldwide.
This year, the airline industry will carry 3.3 billion passengers and 52 million tons of cargo over 50,000 routes.