26 days to go. On 30SEP20, CEO Arnaud Lambert of CHAMP Cargosystem will exit the Luxembourg-headquartered global IT provider after 16 years with the company. His departure takes place on his own request, he emphasizes.
CHAMP is in a phase of transition. The scope of e-Cargo solutions must be expanded, and the company’s traditional community integration platform Cargospot needs updating.
Not that Mr. Lambert would not face these challenges, but there are other things in his life that have become increasingly important to the 52-year-old, as he points out to CargoForwarder Global. “After having spent 16 years with the company in different roles, it’s time for a break,” he says.
Family comes first
Due to the many business trips, conferences and other time-consuming obligations that his managerial job at CHAMP required, his family was clearly neglected. In the near future he wants to devote more time with his wife and kids.
Personal track record
Asked about his footsteps that he leaves as CEO at CHAMP, he says that above all it was the success of putting his company “in the forefront of innovation, evidenced by the multiple industry awards we have received in the last 3 years.” Having embedded sustainability in CHAMP’s strategy and put the issue high on the agenda of the cargo community through its partnership with TIACA (“before it was not even a topic in conferences,” quote AL) is another bonus point which he claims for himself.
- having added a new business line to the CHAMP portfolio based on information intelligence supported by a big data infrastructure with the launch, this year, of a whole new set of Data Analytics and Community Analytics services geared towards the company's customers and the industry in general (benchmarking, forecasting, real-time)
- implementing a new partnership strategy to accelerate value creation to clients and the industry. The latest example is the partnership with Google for API to ease integration between solutions.
- having grown the CHAMP customer community to the largest in the world, composed of leading airlines, ground handlers, GSAs, freight forwarders, and shippers.
Forced or voluntary exit?
Over many years, CHAMP was responsible for the entire – and very lucrative – IT hosting for Cargolux that holds 49% in CHAMP. However, the freight carrier has meanwhile inhoused these services, which put pressure on CHAMP’s sales figures. A CHAMP insider told CargoForwarder Global that Cargolux’s initial considerations to adopt Cargospot “had been the last chance for Mr. Lambert to save his skin.” The critic sees the loss of the key customer Cargolux as the main reason for the departure of Lambert. This speaks more for a forced decision rather than a voluntary resignation.
The IT service provider also failed to win several large tenders, which led to the loss of core customers such as American Airlines Cargo, combined with futile attempts to contract heavyweights such as Asiana, Etihad, Korean or Lufthansa Cargo who all preferred to rely on IT services rendered by India-based IBS Software.
“CHAMP is not customer-centric enough, is inflexible in its product offerings, and does not provide tailored support ," a leading aviation manager criticizes, who himself is a proven IT expert.
From London to Luxembourg
Whether such developments have given headaches to SITA decision makers can only be speculated, due to the lack of information.
Fact is, that the strategy concept presented by CHAMP last November was fully approved by the SITA Board.
Arnaud Lambert will be succeeded by Chris McDermott, VP Passenger Solution Lines at CHAMP majority owner SITA (51%). "We are happy to have a strong leader like Chris join us. He brings a diverse industry backgrund with as specialization in passenger airlines, telecommunications and managing global operations," states Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA and Chairman of the Board of CHAMP. "On behalf of the board of CHAMP, I would also like to congratulate and share my gratitude for Arnaud Lambert, CEO of CHAMP Cargosystems for his 16 years of passionate and dedicated service to CHAMP, with the last 6 as CEO."
Scotsman McDermott previously held leading functions in the IT business, among them responsibilities at Blue Bell, Pennsylvania- based IT service and software provider Unisys. Currently he is still based at SITA's London office, but his move to Luxembourg to the company's headquarters is imminent.
There is much work waiting for him.
We always welcome your comments to our articles. However, we can only publish them when the sender name is authentic.