Three Lufthansa Group Airlines Got New CEOs Last Week

On Wednesday, November 18th, the Lufthansa Group announced a leadership shake-up as three of the group’s airlines got new CEOs. Carriers involved in the management change will be Brussels Airlines, SWISS, and Lufthansa Cargo.

Lufthansa Group
Based on revenue, Lufthansa Group is Europe’s largest airline group according to data from Statista. Photo: Lufthansa Group

Lufthansa’s CEO said the following in a press release regarding the leadership change:

“With today’s decisions, three experienced and accomplished executives from our own ranks are taking on important management tasks in the core business of our Group.” -Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG

The new CEO of SWISS

Appointed as the new CEO of SWISS effective January 1st, 2021 is Dieter Vranckx (47), a dual Swiss and Belgian citizen.

Vranckx takes over for Thomas Klühr, who is leaving the company, as planned, at the end of the year. Klühr had actually planned to step down from SWISS much earlier but delayed his departure because of the global crisis:

“I would like to offer Thomas Klühr particular thanks for delaying his originally planned departure at the end of March of this year when the present crisis developed, and for subsequently steering SWISS with such dexterity through these difficult times,” -Reto Francioni, Chairman, SWISS Board of Directors via ARGS

Interestingly, Vrankx is currently CEO of Brussels Airlines and has been leading the airline since earlier this year. However, he has also held other senior positions at Deutsche Lufthansa AG since 2001. Here are his key appointments:

  • 2010 and 2013: Regional Director USA Midwest and Canada at Lufthansa Cargo AG in Chicago.
  • 2013 to 2016: Vice President Home Markets at SWISS, responsible for sales in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
  • 2016 to 2018: Group Sales and Marketing activities for the airlines of the Lufthansa Group in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • 2018: CFO of Brussels Airlines.
Swiss Airbus A330-343 HB-JHK (2)
The new CEO of SWISS has held several executive positions within the Lufthansa Group for the past 20 years. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

The new CEO of Brussels Airlines

With Dieter Vranckx leaving his position at Brussels Airlines, Peter Gerber (56) will take the reigns of the Belgian carrier. Gerber is currently Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo AG and will move to Belgium with effect from March 1st, 2021. Gerber also takes the position of Lufthansa Group Chief Representative for European Affairs in Brussels, a newly created position.

Here is Gerber’s career timeline:

  • 1992: Peter Gerber began his career with the Lufthansa Group in 1992
  • 1997 onwards: Responsible for the area of Group Accounting, Fees and Charges.
  • 2001 and 2004: Gerber was the project manager responsible for the group-wide “D-Check” program to safeguard earnings.
  • 2004-2009: Assumed responsibilities for collective bargaining policy and social security of the Lufthansa Group.
  • June 2009: Appointed to the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo AG, responsible for Finance and Human Resources.
  • June 2012: Moved to the Executive Board of Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, responsible for Human Resources, IT & Services.
  • Since May 2014, Gerber has been CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo AG.
Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-342 OO-SFD (2)
The new CEO of Brussels Airlines has been with Lufthansa Group for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1992. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

The new CEO of Lufthansa Cargo

With Peter Gerber’s move to Brussels Airlines, Dorothea von Boxberg (46) will take his place as the new CEO of Lufthansa Cargo effective March 1st, 2021.

Starting her professional career in 1999 at business strategy firm Boston Consulting Group, von Boxberg has also had a long career with the Lufthansa Group since 2007. Her time with Lufthansa Group has seen her in the following roles:

  • 2012: Responsible for Customer Experience Design at Lufthansa Airline. During this time, von Boxberg and her team introduced a new generation of business class seats.
  • 2015: Moved to Lufthansa Cargo AG and headed the Global Sales Management department.
  • August 2018: Appointed to the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo AG.
  • Currently, von Boxberg is responsible for worldwide sales, network planning, product management, and product development.
lufthansa cargo
Lufthansa Cargo has six dedicated MD-11s and nine 777Fs in addition to the bellies of passenger aircraft of the Lufthansa Group. Photo: Lufthansa Cargo

Stability in experience

With the new appointments, it looks like the Lufthansa Group is choosing insiders with a great deal of existing experience with the company. While this leadership change looks more like a leadership shuffle, it appears that SWISS, Brussels Airlines, and Lufthansa Cargo will receive knowledgeable and experienced leaders who will hopefully provide some fresh perspective at the same time.

After looking at the careers of these new appointees, what do you think of their new roles? Are they good fits? Would outsiders have been better or worse? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.