Swiss International Air Lines Ltd.
Phone: +41 848 773 773
Fax: +41 44 564 21 27
19. April 2004
The SWISS Board of Directors today named Christoph Franz (43) as the airline’s new Chief Executive Officer. His appointment follows an extensive recruitment process. Holder of a doctorate in Business Administration, Christoph Franz spent the past nine years in top management positions with Deutsche Bahn AG (DB), the German national railway. His most recent position was as a member of executive management in charge of Passenger Sales. From 1990 to 1994 he was with Lufthansa. During his time with the German national carrier, he was part of the team that planned the airline’s financial turnaround. Christoph Franz, a German citizen, will join SWISS on May 1 for a transitional period before officially assuming the role of CEO as of July 1.
The Board of Directors also announced a key decision regarding the future of the airline’s charter activities. As of the 2004 winter timetable, Swiss International Air Lines will operate two of the three aircraft currently in service on charter routes. Commercial considerations and a market analysis prompted this decision. SWISS will tap all available operational and commercial synergies in order to succeed with a quality product in the hard-fought charter sector.
Chairman of the Board Pieter Bouw himself headed the thorough recruitment process in search of a new CEO for SWISS. Six candidates were shortlisted and invited for intensive interviews. In the end the recruitment committee unanimously recommended Frankfurt native Christoph Franz to the SWISS board. Born May 2, 1960, Franz is married to a French citizen and is the father of five children. After completing studies in Germany, France and the United States, graduating with a doctorate (Dr. rer. pol) at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, he joined Lufthansa, where he was involved in projects dealing with strategy, sales and controlling in Germany, France and Turkey. He later headed an IT project for the Passenger Sales division.
From 1992 to 1994 he was part of the team that planned and implemented Lufthansa’s post Gulf War turnaround, in which he reported directly to then CEO Jürgen Weber. Following the successful completion of this project, Franz joined Deutsche Bahn AG, holding a variety of key positions during a nine-year tenure with the German national railway. These included the role of turnaround manager for City Night Line. Most recently he was a member of executive management and responsible for Passenger Sales, a division consisting of 70,000 employees.
SWISS has chosen Christoph Franz on the basis of his strong personality and his managerial accomplishments in different sectors of the transport industry, both on the ground and in the air. His specific know-how in the field of turnaround management was also a deciding factor in his favour. The Board of Directors is convinced that Christoph Franz will bring the company’s turnaround to a successful conclusion and position SWISS correctly in the market.
The two remaining aircraft designated for charter operations will be integrated into the regular Airbus fleet. The precise modalities for this are now being negotiated with the pilots‘ unions.
The goal of this optimisation is to operate a competitive charter business also during the 2004/2005 winter timetable period. The two Airbus A320 charter aircraft are especially configured for this market segment. The product is already well established and appreciated by customers. All current contracts with external tour operators will be continued.
Note to editors:
Chairman of the Board Pieter Bouw and designated CEO Christoph Franz will be available for a brief presentation tomorrow:
Tuesday, 20 April 2004, 11:00, Airport Conference Center, Walter Mittelholzer Room, 8058 Zurich Airport