"I have gladly accepted the challenge of turning airberlin back into a profitable and exciting airline in the coming months - I will devote all my energy to this task and look forward to my future with Berlin. More than 31 million customers give us their trust every year. We have a competitive product and are well positioned in key European markets. Our employees are experienced and have entrepreneurial spirit. I want to build on that," said Stefan Pichler at the first staff meeting in Berlin.
His first week will be characterised by a number of meetings with the employees in Berlin, the group's traditional hub. There will also be political talks as well as meetings with industry representatives. The second major site, Dusseldorf, is already on the schedule for Monday of the following week. There, too, it is the employees who will have the first opportunity to get to know the new CEO.
Stefan Pichler is undertaking this task with the aim of stimulating the restructuring of the group, thereby ensuring sustainable and long-term profitability for airberlin. With 25 years' experience in the aviation industry, this renowned expert has unique experience managing low-cost, charter and classic airlines with profitable route networks.
Up through the end of January he worked for Fiji Airways, where he implemented a turnaround programme to lead the airline back to profitability. Before joining Fiji Airways he was Managing Director and Chief Executive of Jazeera Airways, where his successful restructuring programme helped push the airline to profit margins of over 30 percent. As Chief Commercial Officer & Deputy CEO at Virgin Blue Airlines he developed the company into one of the most profitable airlines in the world in 2006 and 2007. At the same time he also founded V Australia, where he worked until 2009 as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Before that Stefan Pichler was Chairman and CEO of Thomas Cook AG. He has also held a variety of senior positions at Lufthansa, most recently as Chief Commercial Officer and Member of the Executive Board.
In addition to economic challenges, employee motivation and talent development will be among his main fields of action: "We need mutual trust, teamwork, commitment, responsibility and energy at every level. We need to promote expertise across hierarchies. We must be aware of our situation and still have the courage to act quickly," Pichler continued.
A passionate marathon runner who recently became a new resident of Berlin, Stefan Pichler succeeding Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, who is returning to his former position as Chief Strategy & Planning Officer, the position he took when he originally joined the group in 2012.