BREAKING NEWS / EXCLUSIVE - Reich to Head Cargolux

The long search for a new helmsman seems to be over. Cargolux will be headed by former Kuehne & Nagel executive Dirk Reich, credible sources told CargoForwarder exclusively. Great challenges are awaiting Reich.

Contract logistics was Dirk Reich’s professional playing field up to now /  source: K&N
Contract logistics was Dirk Reich’s professional playing field up to now / source: K&N
In future Reich will have to steer Cargolux into save harbors  /  source: hs
In future Reich will have to steer Cargolux into save harbors / source: hs

The sourcing process for finding a capable manager to take the chair at Cargolux seems to be over after a months-long stalemate. When asked by CargoForwarder Global, Paul Helminger confirmed that Dirk Reich is the sole name standing on the list of candidates for being nominated – if not acclaimed – as new CEO. According to the Supervisory Board’s Chairman the final decision on Reich will formally be taken by the airline’s controlling members at their gathering on March 26. This is a mere symbolic act, people close to the case point out, because the decision on Reich has internally already been waved through by the Board members. If Reich’s nomination is confirmed he’ll take over responsibilities from interim CEO Richard Forson who decided not to participate in this beauty contest and abstained from throwing his hat into the ring for becoming Chief Executive.

Reich wasn’t first choice from the beginning
Before Reich emerged as top candidate, a number of other managers had been shortlisted by the airline’s controlling Board, but had shown no interest or were vetoed by CV’s new ally Henan Province. According to internal information obtained by CargoForwarder Global the latter accounted particularly for a top manager who CV’s Chinese stakeholder (35%) Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment Company insisted to scrap from the list.

Paul Helminger also noted that more personnel decisions are standing on the controlling Board’s meeting next Wednesday to fill vacant positions at CV’s top deck. This accounts for Marketing and Sales as well as Operations. Both positions are currently available after Robert van de Weg and Peter van de Pas had decided to quit the airline. The two executives had opposed the commercial agreement signed by Luxembourg’s government and investor Henan which they believe is to the detriment of the carrier.

Dirk Reich
Dirk Reich

German national Dirk Reich is not an unknown name in the European logistics landscape. The graduate from Koblenz School of Corporate Management first held various management positions at Lufthansa Cargo. In 1995 he moved to Kuehne & Nagel, becoming Senior Vice President, Corporate Development at the Switzerland-based logistics giant. After, he was entrusted with the position as Executive Vice President of Contract Logistics and has been promoted to the Management Board of K&N.
Reich’s K&N career ended last November when he stepped down from his entire functions after the Board had announced the appointment of Detlef Trefzger to take over the Contract Logistic unit from Reich.

Demanding tasks
Provided CV’s controllers will confirm his nomination next week he’ll be confronted with a series of problems that have to be solved very fast. His priority must be to overcome or at least narrow the internal schism at Cargolux’s management concerning the future cooperation with the Chinese investor and dispel existing fears expressed by pilots, some influential managers, and Luxembourg’s Unions that Cargolux might become an appendix of Henan Province as time progresses. Last but not least he’ll have to deliver solid answers to the pressing question how to maneuver the carrier out of the red and obtain greater revenue and profitability gains.
It’ll be interesting to see which concept Reich presents to navigate proud Cargolux through stormy weathers.  


Heiner Siegmund