CargoForwarder Global had indicated a split up between Cargolux and its Asia-Chief Robert Song in an EXCLUSIVE published in its latest issue (19 May). At that time, Cargolux had told the media that Song decided to take a sudden two week holiday due to being stressed and overworked. Only 72 hours later, this version was no longer valid. This became evident today (22 May), when the carrier officially announced the ousting of Song.
“Cargolux Airlines International and Robert Song have mutually agreed to terminate his role as Senior Vice President, Head of Asia & Pacific with immediate effect,” reads today’s press
release published by Luxembourg’s flag carrier. It further states: “Both parties are currently in discussions about a mutually satisfactory consultancy agreement to support the implementation of
the dual hub strategy between Cargolux and its shareholder HNCA.”
As common in such cases, Cargolux’s President and Chief Executive Officer Dirk Reich thanked Song for his commitment and his unflagging dedication. States Reich: “Thanks to his in-depth knowledge of the business and his strong relationships throughout the airfreight industry, Robert has played a central role in the successful setting up of the alliance between Cargolux and HNCA.” The manager goes on to say: “I thank Robert for his contributions, his drive and hard work.”
Prior to this announcement it must have been a heavy finger-wrestling match behind the scenes between Song critic Dirk Reich and the management of Cargolux’s main shareholder HNCA (35%). For it was the public investor of Chinese Henan Province that had pushed Song’s hiring through – despite many warnings by forwarding agents. To support Reich, who heads Cargolux only since April 1, Paul Helminger, the carrier’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, had rushed to Henan’s capital Zhengzhou to sooth the tensions in the dispute over the future of Robert Song. Quite an unexpected u-turn, since Helminger was one of the Cargolux managers that had given way to HNCA’s demand to hire Song and to put him in the influential position as Senior VP Asia/Pac at Cargolux.
Against this background, today’s decision to fire Song must be interpreted as a clear cut victory for CEO Dirk Reich. Any other outcome of this finger-wrestling episode would have severely damaged the manager, and would have reduced him into the role of a lame duck.
Cargolux further announced the promotion of Kevin Shek to Vice President Asia & Pacific, effective immediately. Shek, who is currently heading the airline’s sales activities in the Asia & Pacific region, has held various positions since joining Cargolux in 1997.