For more than three decades, Bernhard Lessmann played a decisive role in the establishment and further development of Frankfurt CargoCity South. He also represented the interests of the Frankfurt Airport operator for 5 years as Managing Director of the subsidiary, Pantares Tradeport Asia, and as a Director on the Board of Tradeport Hong Kong. Now the 62-year-old air freight expert and his employer, Fraport AG, are parting ways - after 35 years together. The busy manager, who is very well known and networked in the industry, will retire on 30JUN21.
Whoever you ask in the Frankfurt air freight scene, the answer is always the same. It is: “We will miss Bernhard very much, both professionally and personally.” Such is the reaction of Patrik Tschirch, Head of LUG aircargo handling and also Chairman of the Board of the Frankfurt Air Cargo Community: “Bernhard has been involved in many projects that are outstanding for the location and has brought them forward.” He has managed, Mr. Tschirch emphasizes, to combine theoretical knowledge, a deep practical understanding, and visionary thinking to get his ideas off the ground and optimize operations at the Rhine-Main location.
Mentally, he was always ahead of the industry
Lessmann's areas of expertise are marketing, market research, and the preparation of development forecasts. He also championed the digitization of air freight processes early on, when others were still smirking at the trend, in order to optimize cooperation between the airport, airlines, and freight forwarders. “Bernhard Lessmann recognized very early on that digitization can accelerate processes and reduce costs in our industry,” underlines Patrik Tschirch.
Felix Kreutel, Head of Real Estate and Energy at Fraport, is also full of praise. He worked with Lessmann for many years, during which time he came to know and appreciate his innovative strength and creativity. “Bernhard Lessmann is often miles ahead of his counterparts, mentally. When we look at processes five years from now, they will be processes that he already sees today,” he says. His forward-thinking and drive to change things quickly were sometimes pushed to their limits in the large Fraport corporation, he says. “His loyalty to his employer and his idealism helped him to stay on for so long despite this,” adds manager Kreutel.
Hong Kong engagement
Lessmann applied his knowledge of air freight logistics to the interests of his employer also beyond the Frankfurt airport fence. Between 2000 and 2005, he represented Fraport's interests as Managing Director of the Pantares Tradeport Asia subsidiary, and as a Director on the Board of Tradeport Hong Kong. Specifically, he was involved in the construction and commissioning of a 3PL service provider with its own logistics terminal at Chek Lap Kok Airport, which grew out of a European-Chinese joint venture. “This project was his heart's desire. He lived for it,” Felix Kreutel stresses.
“Bernhard Lessmann is a person full of ideas, hands-on, open-minded, forward-thinking. With his retirement, Fraport is losing a lot of knowledge, especially about cargo and its processes," Sabine Gnuechwitz, who worked with him for many years in Fraport's marketing department, concludes.
Sympathetic, stubborn Bavarian
Dr. Heinrich Frye, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, points out Lessmann's character traits: “As a native of Bavaria, he is stubborn, but at the same time he has a very fine, dry sense of humor.” Bernhard Lessmann does not give up quickly when he fights for a cause, especially when he faces headwinds, emphasizes Patrik Tschirch, adding: “He will be missed by the Frankfurt Air Cargo Community and the entire industry”.
Although the man on whom all this praise has been lavished, has not communicated his further plans, it can certainly be expected that he won't be switching from the office chair to the hammock. According to sources close to him, he has plans to set up as an air freight consultant. He certainly has enough experience for a new career after Fraport, coupled with a large number of professional contacts.
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