Star Alliance, the world’s first and largest global airline alliance, is pleased to announce that Theo Panagiotoulias has been chosen to become its next CEO.
Mr Panagiotoulias has more than 25 years’ international experience in the airline and aviation industry. He joins Star Alliance from Hawaiian Airlines, where he had been Senior VP for Global Sales and Alliances since 2014. Previously, Mr Panagiotoulias was VP and GM (Asia Pacific) at travel technology provider Sabre Corporation, as well as a 15-year veteran of American Airlines, where he held several commercial, operational and management positions. His full biography is appended.
“On behalf of the board of Star Alliance, I would like to congratulate Theo for being named the next CEO of Star Alliance,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines and Chairman of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board. “Theo’s international commercial and airline experience have given him a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our industry today. I believe he is the right person to lead Star Alliance into the future.”
“Star Alliance connects the world,” said Mr Panagiotoulias. “More than 200 million customers fly with its 26 member airlines each year, on more than 16,000 flights each day. The Alliance has also led the revolution to promote a more seamless passenger experience. I am honoured that I’ve been chosen to lead the Star Alliance team and work directly with our 26 member carriers, as we continue to innovate as the world’s leading airline alliance.”
Mr Panagiotoulias will succeed Charlotta Wieland, who has been seconded from SAS – Scandinavian Airlines to serve as Star Alliance’s interim CEO since January 2023. With Mr Panagiotoulias coming on board, Ms Wieland will return to SAS, and also rejoin Star Alliance’s Alliance Management Board as the representative for SAS. Mr Panagiotoulias’ appointment is expected to take effect within the coming months, upon the completion of certain administrative processes and clearances.
“On behalf of Star Alliance and its member carriers, I would like to thank Charlotta for her service to Star Alliance as interim CEO, and welcome her back to her seat on the Alliance Management Board,” said Mr Kirby.
Star Alliance was named the World’s Best Airline Alliance by Skytrax in 2022. It aims to facilitate a seamless, high-quality traveller experience across its 26 member carriers, with smooth transfers across an extensive global network, together with rewards and recognition for frequent international travellers.
In 2022, the Alliance celebrated its 25th anniversary as the longest-running international airline alliance. It also marked several important milestones, including the launch of the world’s first airline alliance credit card with HSBC Australia, and the formation of an intermodal travel model, which extends the Alliance’s network beyond air travel to other transport ecosystems, such as rail networks.
Theo Panagiotoulias is the new incoming CEO of Star Alliance.
He has more than 25 years of commercial and operational expertise in the airline and travel industry, and has worked in Australia, China, Japan, Singapore and the United States.
Before joining Star Alliance, Mr Pantagiotoulias served as Hawaiian Airlines’ senior vice president for global sales and alliances for nine years, heading the airline’s worldwide sales, alliance partnerships, as well as government affairs and commercial functions in international markets. Prior to that, he was Sabre Corp’s vice president and general manager for the Asia Pacific region. Earlier in his career, Mr Panagiotoulias also spent 15 years at American Airlines, where he held various leadership, commercial, operational and general management positions.
Mr Panagiotoulias graduated from Haileybury College in Melbourne, Australia and completed the Advanced Leadership Programme at the University of Cambridge in the UK.