Star Alliance has appointed former United Airlines Senior VP-Alliances Mark Schwab as its new CEO. Schwab will replace Jaan Albrecht, who is moving on to become CEO of Austrian Airlines on Jan. 1, 2012.

Schwab was one of three candidates on the shortlist for the position, according to industry sources. One of the other two is believed to have been Alex de Gunten, the secretary general of the Latin American and Carribean Airline Association (ALTA).

Schwab, who recently retired from United, also was a member of the Star Alliance management board.

Star Alliance Chairman Rob Fyfe said the group looked at candidates inside and outside the industry in a long process. A selection committee was formed within the Chief Executive Board.

Schwab will relocate to Frankfurt over the next few weeks. Frankfurt is the base for the Star Alliance Services organization.