Jaan Albrecht is leaving the after 10 years to become CEO of Austrian Airlines. The move is still subject to approval by Austrian’s board, which is to meet in September. Albrecht will take up his new role in November.
The CEO position at Austrian has been vacant since February. Austrian owneroriginally appointed its former head of sales, Thierry Antinori, to the role, but he walked away from the job just days before he was to start. According to industry sources, Lufthansa needed to find a new position for him, because the airline division’s new CEO Carsten Spohr wanted to install a completely new management team. At Austrian, Antinori did not get as much responsibility as he would have liked, because executive board members Andreas Bierwirth and Peter Malanik refused to surrender any of their key tasks.
Austrian is still in the midst of a deep restructuring and is expected to post another loss this year, contrary to earlier objectives. The airline has been hard hit by the Middle East and Japan crisis this year, which are key markets for it.
Albrecht has been leading Star since 2001. He has previously served as CEO of AeroPeru and Aeromexpress, a cargo airline in Mexico; he is a German and Mexican national. According to industry sources, Albrecht has previously been interested in the CEO job at Austrian.
Star Alliance Chairman Rob Fyfe says an executive search project has been started to replace Albrecht, who was highly regarded in the alliance and has managed the difficult transition from a small group of airlines to a unit with 27 members.