As reported last week (23AUG20) the two managers were on the government's shortlist to become members of the Lufthansa Supervisory Board. Their appointment, announced last Friday (29AUG20), follows the injection of up to 9 bn euros of taxpayers' money into Lufthansa’s coffers by the Berlin government as part of a stabilization package to secure the survival of the airline. In its new role as Lufthansa shareholder (20%), the Merkel government has the right to nominate 2 supervisory board members.
Titzrath and Kerkloh take the seats of Monika Ribar and Martin Koehler, who have resigned with immediate effect. With this change in personnel, Lufthansa fulfills a core condition of the stabilization package. The chairman of the controlling board, Karl-Ludwig Kley, thanked Ribar and Koehler for their outstanding contributions in their role as supervisors, and welcomed Titzrath and Kerkloh in the same breath. “With Angela Titzrath we are gaining an experienced manager who will enrich the Supervisory Board with her broad expertise from various industries and companies. Her experience in logistics and her knowledge of personnel policy issues will be of great value to our Supervisory Board,” stated Mr. Kley. Turning to the former CEO of Hamburg and Munich Airport, he said that he believes that Michael Kerkloh will contribute his first-hand knowledge and the manager’s profound understanding of the interrelationships in aviation to the Supervisory Board.
Although appointed by the government, it is not to be expected that Kerkloh or Titzrath will see themselves as the mouthpiece of Berlin’s politicians and influence operational decisions of the Executive Board in the government’s favor. On the contrary, particularly Kerkloh, who retired only 9 months ago, is well acquainted with Lufthansa’s policies. And with seaport manager Titzrath joining the club of controllers, someone comes in who has an unobstructed view of the airline’s development from the outside.
Crisis as chance
Both of them will certainly have a say in matters such as the discussed partial sale of Lufthansa Technik in order to quickly inject capital into the parent company. Another topic that will certainly be discussed is whether the Group can afford to continue to operate Vienna, Zurich and Brussels as hubs in addition to Frankfurt and Munich for cost reasons. Seen from a synergy angle, this is not very efficient, evidenced by the double and triple structures that this kind of aviation policy requires.
Jobs will also be at stake, including short-time work, unpaid furlough or even redundancies, in order to get costs under control if the corona crisis blocks aviation in the longer term. It’s another controversial issue standing on the controller’s priority list. So is the intended launch of the LH subsidiary ‘Ocean’ operating long-haul routes to leisure destinations, aimed at attracting a new group of passengers leisure travelers, a segment that was previously not in the airline's focus - unlike business passengers. "Lufthansa now has the ideal opportunity to streamline its portfolio and to regain and consistently expand its previous market leadership in Europe," CargoForwarder was told by an SB member. And he also said this: "We will probably hardly ever discuss Lufthansa Cargo issues. The freight carrier has done a terrific job over the past few months.” Just how good the freight arm of Lufthansa performed is evidenced by the adjusted EBIT of €299 million, a record figure for the first six months of a financial year.
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