Scandinavian airline group SAS AB Tuesday said its CEO, Mats Jansson, will step down in the autumn after four years in which he cut costs sharply at the loss-making carrier.
Jansson said in a statement that he will turn 60 next year, and the time “feels right for a new president and CEO to take over.”
Under Jansson’s management, the airline has carried out cost-saving equal to 4.9 billion kroner ($682 million) a year. Earlier this year it said it would raise 5 billion kronor from shareholders in a new rights issue and expects to cut yearly costs by another 4.8 billion kronor between 2010 and 2012.
“During the past four years, Mats has worked exhaustively day and night to lead SAS through a difficult period. His efforts have been tremendous, both quantitatively and qualitatively,” SAS board chairman Fritz Schur said in a statement.
He said the company has started searching for a new chief executive officer.
“I believe I have done my share for SAS. There are still great challenges to come for SAS, but the platform is in place,” Jansson said. “SAS has gained strength in terms of our products, and customer satisfaction has increased. The company is now well-positioned to face the future.”
In the first quarter, the airline’s losses narrowed to 712 million kronor ($99 million), compared with a loss of 748 million kronor a year ago. However, it warned the volcanic ash cloud over Europe would hurt second-quarter earnings by at least 460 million kronor.
The earnings report for the second quarter is expected next week.