Nordic airline SAS has appointed Rickard Gustafson as its new president and chief executive with a brief to stem losses.
With a background in insurance – where he is presently chief executive of Codan/Trygg-Hansa – Mr Gustafson was drafted in following the surprise resignation of Mats Jansson earlier this year.
“SAS is a special and unique Scandinavian company,” said Mr Gustafson.
“A great deal has been accomplished in recent years to create a platform for the future. I look forward to developing the company further, together with all employees at SAS,” he added.
Gustafson will seek to cut costs at SAS
The appointment comes at a difficult time for the airline.
SAS – which is half owned by the governments of Sweden, Norway and Denmark - has been unprofitable in all but one of the past 11 quarters.
In recent years the carrier has struggled with declining global
air traffic and strikes, beginning a SEK7.8 billion cost-cutting plan in 2009 to eliminate 4,600 jobs and over 20 planes.
Jansson will leave his position on October 1st this year, with Gustafson assuming his position at SAS not later than March 2011.
In the interim deputy chief executive, John Dueholm, will be acting president and chief executive.
“Rickard Gustafson is an experienced leader, with extensive international experience, who has demonstrated that he can generate good results,” added Fritz Schur, chairman of the
board of SAS.
“The entire Board agrees that Rickard Gustafson is the right person to take on the challenges in SAS, and to continue the implementation of the Core SAS strategy and ensure profitable growth,” he concluded.