This announcement must surely surprise many members of the cargo community and will definitely sadden quite a few of them: Swiss WorldCargo’s (SWC) longtime helmsman Oliver Evans will
give up his post at the end of next September, to pursue other interests in the air logistics industry prior to his eventual retirement.
Swiss WorldCargo without Oliver Evans – almost unthinkable. When leaving the carrier next September, the 60-year old will have chaired the cargo arm of Zurich, Switzerland-based Swiss Air Lines for thirteen long years.
World-class cargo carrier
Under his leadership, SWC has set itself at the forefront of developments, resulting in a world-class quality cargo carrier, much respected by the industry. His division’s many innovations are legendary: the product differentiation is state-of-the-art, so are the precise market surveys and outlooks, furthermore, the results of Evans and his team’s efforts to consequently abandon paper documentation in cargo and transmit data electronically instead, including integrating customs authorities. The ever humble manager Evans, while speaking to CargoForwarder Global last night stated: “It’s my fantastic team that made SWC to a globally recognized brand. So it’s these members that in particular deserve the credits.”
Focusing on special products
Asked about his most important decision taken during his long SWC reign he says that it was a strategic move made at the early stages of his assignment: “To me this was the very clear definition of our role in the marketplace. Instead of concentrating on flying standard shipments we decided to focus on different industry sectors such as trading, pharma, valuables, express and some others. Everything else just followed almost automatically,” he states.
Profits, of course don’t flow automatically but the basic decision to push high yield products forward enabled SWC to generate financial surpluses year by year. Although fiscal 2014 hasn’t ended yet, “we are again above target and will close the financial year with a profit,” Oliver announces.
And where there’s light is also shadow. So our frank question is: “which were your most frustrating experiences during your term as SWC helmsman?”
His answer: “Industrial changes are happening way too slow. It takes time to implement innovative processes on a larger scale. Unfortunately, there is a lot of inertia and persistence in this industry,” he deeply regrets.
Taking on new challenges
In order to better this, at least a little, Oliver has decided to grow his own business after leaving SWC, coaching managers of the cargo and logistics industry to help them get ready for future challenges. “I don’t need to travel around the globe that much any longer, and see no reason in spending my time in often rather tedious conferences,” says the manager in his typical modest and down-to-earth attitude. Instead, he’ll travel only occasionally and grow his biz in Switzerland where he has his main place of residence.
Until taking on this new personal challenge he remains responsible for the cargo business of SCW and leisure carrier Edelweiss which belongs to Swiss since November of 2008.
He stays committed to TIACA
Evans' commitment has been much recognized and honored internationally shown by his election as Chairman of the Board of Directors at TIACA in April 2013. His mandate expires in May, so he'll stand down. Oliver points out that the Chairmanship has always been a two year mandate, and as the Chairman is often Vice-Chairman for two years beforehand, it has always been the practice that the Chairman steps down, and a new one is elected. "I'm just following this practice," he states. Regarding a possible future role within TIACA Oliver emphasizes that he has no intention to stepping down from the Board. He goes on to say: "I have informed my TIACA colleagues that I am fully committed to our aims and our ambitious plans and will make myself available for any role or even roles that they see fit to the extent that my employer - until next September - and my workload afterwards will allow."
Search for a successor has begun
In a statement, Swiss CEO Harry Hohmeister regretted Evans decision to exit SWC, but he also expressed his understanding for the manager’s decision. Said Herr Hohmeister: “Oliver has been instrumental in setting a clear course for our air freight activities. He decided early on to keep away from the mass-volume business and to become a global leader in transporting high-value and care-intensive consignments for industrial sectors.” He went on to say: "We are very sorry to see him go; but we fully appreciate his desire for a change after all these years.”
The CEO confirmed that the search for Evans’ successor has meanwhile begun.