Virgin Australia’s CEO, John Borghetti, who led the airline through the great financial crisis, a complete brand overhaul and an ongoing network expansion, has received one of Australia’s highest honours.

The airline boss was named a Companion of the Order of Australia on Australia Day, along with 957 other recipients from various industries and communities including Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

The Companion of the Order of Australia is only bestowed upon Australian citizens for certain achievements or meritorious service. Receiving it is a pretty big deal and deserves a very loud round of applause.

Virgin Australia

Speaking to ABC, Borghetti said he was “very fortunate” to have grown up in Australia after arriving in the country from Italy at age seven.

He said during his first years in Australia, he was unable to speak English but quickly learned the language and landed his first job as a mail boy at Qantas.

Borghetti

In 2010, he was made CEO of Virgin Blue, which was later rebranded by Borghetti to Virgin Australia.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in this country — a country that gives you opportunities that most other countries don’t give you.”

John Borghetti, Virgin Australia CEO

“If you work hard and you focus and you can contribute to the country you should and [aviation and tourism] are both areas which I’m very proud to have been involved with.”

Other recipients of the Companion of the Order of Australia in 2017 included Chloe Esposito — a gold medal in the Rio Olympics modern pentathlon event; paralympian Tiffany Thomas Kane; professional surfer Mick Fanning and more.

Join us in congratulating John Borghetti on this massive achievement.