The 58th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) unanimously approved the 20 March decision of the IATA Board of Governors, to appoint Giovanni Bisignani as the new Director General & CEO of the Association.
Mr. Bisignani takes over from Pierre J. Jeanniot who held the post from January 1993.
Mr. Bisignani brings 34 years of diverse professional experience to the leadership of IATA. He has served previously as Managing Director and CEO of Alitalia, President of Tirrenia di Navigazione, CEO of SM Logistics (a GE joint venture) and, most recently, CEO of Opodo, the rapidly expanding airline online travel portal.
In his acceptance speech, Giovanni Bisignani paid tribute to his predecessor. ” Under Pierre Jeanniot`s strong leadership, IATA has done a great job, transforming itself into a relevant cost-conscious organisation, successfully serving the different needs of our industry.”
He pledged himself to build on Jeanniot`s success and said, “the strength of any institution lies in its capacity to adapt and respond rapidly to the changing needs of its industry. IATA must have this capacity, to respond to new challenges.”
The new Director General and CEO identified the challenges as: safety, security, long-term profitability (against industry losses of USD 12 billion in 2001), fair competition between carriers in the different regions of the world, increased customer satisfaction and environmental consciousness.
“We in IATA must have the courage to use all our strengths, our passion and our global reputation, to make things happen - and happen quickly.”