Lufthansa “Rotating“ For a New Take-Off!

Peter Gerber will succeed Karl Ulrich Garnadt as new cargo CEO effective 1. Mai 2014  /  source: LH Cargo
Peter Gerber will succeed Karl Ulrich Garnadt as new cargo CEO effective 1. Mai 2014 / source: LH Cargo

Lufthansa’s Supervisory Board today (March 19,) gave notice of important management rotations within the company which are slated to take effect as of 1. May 2014.
Karl Ulrich Garnadt who is presently CEO of Lufthansa Cargo will move over to replace Carsten Spohr as the head of Lufthana’s passenger sector. Mr Spohr was recently nominated as LH’s top man, replacing Christoph Franz who moves to Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Roche Holding as its Chairman.

Garnadt has been with Lufthansa since 1979 and has held various management positions with the carrier during the past years. He took the helm at LH Cargo in January 2011.
Strangely enough, before taking over the cargo sector, Mr Garnadt was a member of the passenger management with, among others, responsibility for hub management at Frankfurt and Munich. The successful establishment of the MUC hub is largely put down to his efforts.

Karl Ulrich Garnadt will head Lufthansa’s passenger division  /  source: LH Cargo
Karl Ulrich Garnadt will head Lufthansa’s passenger division / source: LH Cargo

Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman of the Supervisory Board states, ”that with Karl Ulrich Garnadt, we are happy to have appointed a very experienced aviation manager who has profound knowledge of the company, as an addition to our top management.” He goes on to say that this decision was taken in close cooperation with Mr Spohr and that “we will with his appointment leave Lufthansa’s passenger organization in good hands.”
Mr Garnadt is quoted as saying that “I am very happy with my new challenge and the trust   placed in my person by the Supervisory Board.” Looking to the future, he adds, “I will do all possible together with the passenger team to strengthen Lufthansa’s role as the leading European airline.” “We realize which challenges lie ahead, but also know where our strengths are,” he added.

Gerber back in cargo
The LH Supervisory Board has nominated Peter Gerber (50) to succeed Garnadt as the new cargo CEO. This will also take effect by 1. May of this year. Gerber who is no stranger to the LH Cargo team moves over from the passenger side where he since 2012 has held the position as the responsible manager for Personnel, IT & Services. He spent his time with LH Cargo between 2009 and 2012 as manager for Finance, IT and Human Resources.
Carsten Spohr states “we are convinced that Peter Gerber will continue the extremely good work put in by Karl Garnadt and will continue to steer Lufthansa Cargo successfully through this tough market environment.”

Continuity in LH Cargo?
There’s no doubt that these are good moves for Lufthansa and  the gentlemen concerned. They have proven their worth to the company during the past years.
But, continuity, especially on the cargo side, may be more desirable. The past LH Cargo managers, namely, Jansen, Spohr & Garnadt all did great jobs of putting and keeping LH Cargo on the map, but their tenures in this position were not that long.
It’s still one of the very few carriers who despite economic turn downs, continues to grow and make profit.
However, Peter Gerber has a tough time ahead of him and one can hope that his tenure will be much longer than those before him in order for him to be able to tackle the many outstanding issues facing him.
He’ll have his plate full!
The fleet restructuring issue is still not signed off. Five Boeing 777F’s are on order and LH should decide by autumn of this year as to whether they’ll take up an order for number six out of their additional options with Boeing. On top of this, will the present MD-11F fleet, which has been reduced to fourteen aircraft, really be an issue for complete replacement with B777F’s in the future?

Then there is the planning and construction of Lufthansa’s new cargo center (LCC Neo). Planning is well under way, but this is a monumental task which will keep Mr Gerber awake some nights.

And the air freight market of course! What direction will that take due to the present crisis in Eastern Europe and what negative effect for LH’s 2014 results?

Last but not least, the night ban at FRA. This costs LH Cargo around € 40 million per year and if it is extended, will give the carrier an even bigger headache.

Lots of work for the new man at the cargo helm. However, he knows his way around the track at LH Cargo and is supported by a dedicated and well tuned team.
Good luck!

In the meantime the carrier has published its traffic figures for February. According to data 125,000 tons of air freight had been uplifted last month, which is a slight year-on-year increase of 0.3 percentage points. The load factor went up 0.7 percent, averaging 72.8 percent in February.

John Mc Donagh  /  Heiner Siegmund