Harry Hohmeister named new SWISS CEO

23 April 2009

The SWISS Board of Directors today named Harry Hohmeister to succeed Christoph Franz as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Hohmeister, who is 45, has been a member of the SWISS Management Board since the beginning of 2005 and has made a major contribution to the company’s recent success. He will assume his new duties on 1 July. The Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG today appointed Christoph Franz to the company’s Executive Board as Deputy Chairman & CEO. Franz will also serve as CEO of Lufthansa Passenger Airlines. SWISS will continue to be managed as an autonomous airline within the Lufthansa Group.

Harry Hohmeister is to be the new Chief Executive Officer of Swiss International Air Lines. 45-year-old Hohmeister was appointed today by the SWISS Board of Directors to succeed current CEO Christoph Franz on 1 July. Hohmeister has been a member of the company’s Management Board for more than four years where, as Chief Network & Distribution Officer, he has been a major architect of the company’s recent success. He will now serve as Deputy CEO to Christoph Franz, who will familiarise him with his new duties over the next few weeks.

“Our choice of Harry Hohmeister as our new CEO was not a difficult one to make,” says Rolf Jetzer, Chairman of the SWISS Board of Directors. “He has been instrumental in the successes of our company over the past few years. The choice of an in-house successor is also a reflection of our airline’s strength and independence. And this change at the top will be good for our company, good for its personnel and good for Switzerland.”

“SWISS will continue to follow its chosen path and will remain Switzerland’s national airline,” adds CEO-designate Harry Hohmeister. “I am greatly looking forward to this new challenge, and to leading our SWISS team to further positive development. The global economy is in the midst of its biggest-ever crisis right now,” he continues. “We will continue to flexibly align our capacities to changed and changing demand, and we’ll continue to work hard on our costs. And in these crisis times more than ever, we’ll be keeping a firm and constant focus on our customers in everything we do.”

Christoph Franz will assume a new position as CEO of Lufthansa Passenger Airlines on 1 June. He will remain involved with SWISS, however, as he will also be appointed to the company’s Board of Directors. “Harry Hohmeister is the ideal choice as my successor, and I look forward to continuing my collaboration with him in our new capacities,” Franz comments. “I would also like to offer my warmest thanks to everyone at SWISS for the tremendous support they have given me over the past few years. Working together, we’ve achieved an immense amount for our company.”

Harry Hohmeister: extensive airline experience
Harry Hohmeister, who is 45, is currently Chief Network & Distribution Officer and a Member of the Management Board of Swiss International Air Lines AG. He is married and has a son. Having trained to become a commercial air transport officer, Hohmeister joined Deutsche Lufthansa in 1988. After initially serving in timetable planning and development, he spent two years heading the company’s Short-Haul Planning unit. From 1992 onwards he also became increasingly involved in the restructuring of the company’s Distribution and Marketing organisations within the broader efforts to turn the company around, and was appointed Vice President Planning with responsibility for the entire Lufthansa network in 1996.

He left Lufthansa at the beginning of 2000 to join Thomas Cook Airlines, for whom he held various executive management functions in Germany and the UK over the next five years. He came to SWISS in 2005, initially as a Member of the Management Board and Head of Network, and assumed additional charge of the company’s sales and distribution one year later. The amalgamation of its fleet planning, scheduling, revenue management and distribution management functions has provided SWISS with fully-integrated marketing of its seating capacity, and the resulting strengthening of revenue flows has been a major factor in the company’s current success.

Christoph Franz appointed to the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board
The Lufthansa Supervisory Board today appointed Christoph Franz to the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board as Deputy Chairman & CEO. Franz will also serve as CEO of Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, with responsibility for the company’s passenger business segment.

“I would like to congratulate Christoph Franz on his appointment on behalf of everyone at our company,” says Rolf Jetzer, Chairman of the SWISS Board of Directors. “Under his leadership, SWISS achieved its turnaround and has now reached cruising altitude. Our company today is one of Europe’s leading airlines, and can face the present crisis from a position of genuine strength. The appointment of Christoph Franz to his new position at Lufthansa is a tribute to the excellent performance that SWISS and its people have delivered over the past few years,” he continues. “And I am delighted that he will continue to work towards our company’s further development as a member of our Board of Directors.”