In a widely expected move Lufthansa has appointed deputy chairman Christoph Franz as its new chief executive office.
Mr Franz, who has served as vice chairman for over a year, will replace Wolfgang Mayrhuber from January 1st 2011.
Austrian-born Mayrhuber is expected to retire next year, having managed Lufthansa for seven years.
In a reshuffle at the top of Europe’s largest airline by market capitalisation, Lufthansa Cargo chief Carsten Spohr will take over the management of Lufthansa’s flagship passenger airline business.
Karl Ulrich Garnadt was proposed as his successor at Lufthansa Cargo.
“Our company is characterized by a responsible personnel and executive development guided by foresight and it is this very development that regularly assures us an outstanding management team,” commented supervisory board chairman Jürgen Weber.
Franz is a former executive with Deutsche Bahn railways, having come to Lufthansa via Swiss, which Lufthansa bought five years ago.
Lufthansa have benefited from the recovery in the global economy
The 50-year-old proved himself as a turnaround expert, bringing back Swiss from the brink and was appointed to run Lufthansa’s passenger airline business in 2009.
Wolfgang Mayrhuber congratulated his successor in the name of the executive board saying: “With Christoph Franz at the helm and his broad wealth of experience, foresight and determination to implement change, our company will continue to be able to react to future challenges with the necessary speed and flexibility.
As chief executive Lufthansa, Franz will be responsible for the five business segments of the airline: the Passenger Airline Group, Logistics, MRO, IT Services and Catering with a total of over 116,000 employees worldwide.
In a second major announcement, Lufthansa confirmed the order of 48 new aircraft.
Of these new aircraft, eight Airbus A330-300, equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent700 engines, will be deployed on long-haul routes and the remaining 40 aircraft will be deployed in continental traffic.
The planned order includes three Airbus A330-300 and twenty Airbus of the A320-family for Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, as well as eight new Embraer 195 aircraft for Lufthansa Regional.
In addition, the order includes five Airbus A330-300, two Airbus A321 and two Airbus A320 for SWISS, as well as eight new Airbus A319 for Germanwings.
The aircraft will be delivered to the group successively from 2012, with the order valued at approximately €3.5 billion.
Lufthansa is already the biggest operator world-wide of Airbus aircraft with 325 planes currently in service.
Another 51 were on order before the latest announcement, including 12 A380s.