Christina Foerster, CEO of Brussels Airlines, is to leave the Belgian airline to join Lufthansa.
Foerster leaves the Belgian national airline for the mother company, the German Lufthansa, as head of “Customer and Corporate Responsibility”, from 1 January 2020.
Brussels Airlines’ Chairman of the Board Count Etienne Davignon says that her successor at the helm of the airline will be named very soon. He added that the decision to “promote” her was taken in perfect agreement with Lufthansa. A Board meeting should decide this week about her replacement. It is widely thought that the number 2 of the airline, Belgian CFO Dieter Vranckx, will be chosen.
Christina Foerster was appointed as Brussels Airlines CEO on 1 April 2018, taking over the role of Bernard Gustin who was sacked as he had a different opinion and did not agree with Lufthansa’s boss Carsten Spohr’s view on the future of Brussels Airlines … and it turned out that the Eurowings saga decided by Spohr was a complete failure which Foerster was unable to avoid.
Here is the Lufthansa release announcing the news:
Lufthansa realigns Executive Board
- Christina Foerster and Michael Niggemann join Executive Board
- Addition of new board-level position “Customer & Corporate Responsibility”
- Thorsten Dirks to assume new responsibility as Chief Officer “IT, Digital & Innovation”
- Bettina Volkens will leave the company at the end of the year by mutual agreement
Today, the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG has decided to realign the Executive Board of Lufthansa Group in terms of structure and staffing effective 1 January 2020.
“With the new Executive Board structure that has been decided on today, we are responding to changes in our environment and within the company. We are strengthening our customer focus, we are increasing our efforts in digitalization and we are anchoring responsibility for the environment and society at the Executive Board level. And we are taking into account the strategic development of Lufthansa from an aviation group to an airline group,” says Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
As of 1 January 2020, the Executive Board will be expanded to include the board-level position “Customer & Corporate Responsibility”. Christina Foerster, CEO Brussels Airlines, has been appointed to the board for this task; her contract has a term of three years. In her new role, Christina Foerster will assume responsibility for product management, the future catering interface and marketing, including responsibility for the customer loyalty program “Miles & More”, among other things. Christina Foerster will also be responsible for “Cultural Development” and will head the “Corporate Responsibility” department, making this the first time that the company’s responsibility for the environment, climate and society has been represented at the board level.
Going forward, Harry Hohmeister will be responsible for the coordination of network planning, revenue management, distribution and sales for all of the group’s passenger airlines as head of the “Commercial Passenger Airlines” division.
Against the background of the great importance of IT, digitalization and innovation, responsibility for these topics will be bundled in a newly created department “IT, Digital & Innovation” in future, to be headed by Thorsten Dirks.
The Supervisory Board has also decided to consistently structure the Executive Board according to functional criteria. As a result, “Eurowings” will no longer be managed as a separate board-level division. Eurowings has now established itself as an important division of the group and the third-largest point-to-point airline in Europe. It now flies every fourth passenger of the group. In future, the airline will be run in the same way as the group’s other passenger airlines, retaining its largely independent position.
Going forward, the “HR & Legal” department will be headed by Michael Niggemann, CFO of Swiss International Airlines. He was also appointed to the Executive Board for three years today.
Bettina Volkens, who was previously responsible for “HR & Legal” on the Executive Board, will leave the company by mutual agreement on 31 December 2019. “During her six years on the Executive Board, Bettina Volkens has initiated an important and profound cultural change that has contributed significantly to the success of Lufthansa Group. She has rendered outstanding service to the company and is now passing this task on to a young team that will build on this foundation. The entire Supervisory Board is grateful for her work in our company,” says Karl-Ludwig Kley.
“The development of two in-house executives into our Executive Board team is an important contribution to the continuous development of our management culture,” says Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “I look forward to working with our newly formed leadership team. On behalf of the entire Executive Board, I would like to express special thanks to Bettina Volkens. Both her personality and her innovative HR management have helped shape Lufthansa in recent years.”
- 03-DEC-2019 News Release