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Christoph Franz to become Deputy Chairman of the Lufthansa Executive Board

eTN  May 06, 2009

At its meeting today, the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG endorsed steps relating to the ongoing development of the corporate organisation. Expansion from three to four seats on the Executive Board and the redistribution of Executive Board remits will create the organisational requirements for integration of further carriers into the Lufthansa airline group.

A new division responsible for Lufthansa Passenger Airlines is to be instituted on the Lufthansa Executive Board, with effect from 1 June 2009. It will be headed by Christoph Franz, currently CEO Swiss International Air Lines AG, who has been appointed to the Lufthansa Executive Board and, simultaneously, named its Deputy Chairman. He will also take over as Chairman of the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines Board.

In the course of reorganisation, the Aviation Services und Human Resources division, headed by Stefan Lauer, will evolve into the new division Group Airlines and Corporate Human Resources. This will be responsible for the group airlines not included in Lufthansa Passenger Airlines and for furthering overall inter-airline cooperation between the subsidiary carriers (SWISS and in future Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airlines, bmi as well as Germanwings, SunExpress and JetBlue).

Stefan Lauer remains responsible for Group-wide human resources. He will also retain the function of Labour Director. The Supervisory Board additionally agreed to reappoint Stefan Lauer for a further term on the Executive Board at the earliest possible date.

The Finance division, headed by Stephan Gemkow, will be expanded to include responsibility for the logistics, MRO, catering and IT Services business units and be renamed Finance and Aviation Services.

Commenting on the decisions taken by the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, its Chairman, Jürgen Weber, said: “With Christoph Franz, we are appointing an experienced expert in the aviation business to the Lufthansa Executive Board. He knows the industry thoroughly and has demonstrated his leadership and management qualities in a variety of positions. Most impressively at Swiss latterly, he has shown that he can steer a company in difficult times and lead it back to a growth path. One of the most distinguishing qualities of Christoph Franz is the great confidence, respect and recognition he has earned from his staff through his committed and open leadership. Only in that way a team can be motivated to give of its best. With that approach and by harnessing the benefits of cooperation with the Lufthansa Group, the Swiss carrier has under the leadership of Christoph Franz re-emerged in the space of very few years as one of the world’s best and most profitable airlines.“ The new structure and concomitant personnel decisions stem from a good tradition of charting an early course, which had always proved successful in the past, emphasised Jürgen Weber.

At Swiss International Air Lines AG, Harry Hohmeister will succeed Christoph Franz as CEO, with effect from 1 July 2009. Harry Hohmeister was previously Chief Network and Distribution Officer on the SWISS Board of Directors.

Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman and CEO Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: “With the organisational re-alignment and strengthening of the Executive Board, we are equipping ourselves at the right time for future tasks and challenges. This is a logical step necessitated by the growth and gratifying development of the Group in recent years as well as by the expansion of the Group airline network. By taking this step, we are strengthening the foundations, on which our autonomous companies can develop in proximity to customers in their individual markets. Those business segments can benefit by utilising synergies from the airline network and Aviation Group. Customer focus, transparency, quality and sustainability remain, simultaneously, organisational and management principles in all business areas,“ Mayrhuber emphasised. “We can on that basis develop our core airline business and profit at the same time from the Group’s wider positioning in diverse business segments.“

Effective 1 June 2009, the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG will consist of the following divisions:

Chairman and CEO: Wolfgang Mayrhuber, responsible for corporate strategy and airline development, corporate fleet, corporate international relations and government affairs, communications and auditing;

Lufthansa Passenger Airlines and Deputy Chairman: Christoph Franz, responsible for Lufthansa Passenger Airlines and, simultaneously, Chairman of the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines Board;

Group Airlines and Corporate Human Resources: Stefan Lauer, responsible for group airlines not included in the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines and Group Labour Director.

Finance and Aviation Services: Stephan Gemkow, responsible for Group finance and the Group’s service business units.

Ensuing from the ongoing development of Lufthansa’s corporate organisational structure, changes will also be implemented in Lufthansa Passenger Airlines. Responsibilities and functions on the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines Board are to be re-aligned in order to strengthen the independence and autonomy of the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines within the Group airline network.

The previous Strategy, IT and Procurement division on the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines Board will be expanded into the new Finance and Human Resources division. With this realignment, the human resources functions and industrial relations in the passenger business will be transferred from the Executive Board to the Finance and Human Resources division on the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines Board. The new division will be headed by Roland Busch, who is joining from the Board of Directors of Lufthansa Cargo AG, where he is responsible for Finance and Human Resources.

The previous Services and Human Resources division at Lufthansa Passenger Airlines will be renamed Passenger Services and Hub Management. Responsibility for this remit on the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines Board will be retained by Karl Ulrich Garnadt. Also in future, he will be in charge of service functions on the ground and in flight operations as well as hub management in Frankfurt and Munich, and the point-to-point connections which Lufthansa offers its customers.

Thierry Antinori will continue to oversee Marketing and Sales on the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines Board. Jürgen Raps remains responsible for Operations.

These organisational changes will be implemented with effect from 1 June 2009.

Christoph Franz to become Deputy Chairman of the Lufthansa Executive Board
Christoph Franz / Image via Reuters Pictures

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