· Comprehensive reorganization in the management of Austria’s red-white-red national carrier
· Jens Ritter will serve as COO in an extended Executive Board
· Two new division managers from the company’s own ranks
Austrian Airlines is realigning its management team as part of the ongoing strategy program #DriveTo25. In this regard, greater emphasis in the management will be put on “Operations” (i.e. flight operations, technical operations, ground handling). New managers have been appointed in the areas of Human Resources and Ground Operations. Several areas of the company will be merged, and management levels will be reduced.
Accountable Manager Jens Ritter will be part of the extended Executive Board
Within the context of the reorganization of company structures at Austrian Airlines, operations (Flight Operations, Technical Operations, Ground Handling etc.) will be more strongly integrated into Executive Board decisions. For this reason, the current Accountable Manager Jens Ritter (46) will be appointed Chief Operations Officer and be part of the extended Executive Board. He has already been responsible for a major part of operations of the red-white-red national carrier since February 2016.
“Flight operations, ground handling and technical operations are the heart and soul of our company. That is why we want to make sure that this importance is reflected in the organization”, states Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech in explaining this step. “However, for understandable reasons, formally we will continue to function as a three-member Executive Board.”
Longstanding Austrian Airlines manager Markus Christl assumes position as new Head of Human Resources
The Human Resources division of Austrian Airlines will also get a new manager. Markus Christl (48), currently Head of Ground Operations and thus responsible for the global ground handling of the national carrier, will take charge of all personnel-related issues for Austrian Airlines starting on March 1, 2020. Christl, who can look back at 20 years of management experience in various areas of the company and extensive negotiation experience with the Works Council and trade union, will succeed Nathalie Rau, who has decided to move on to a new professional challenge outside the Lufthansa Group.
Susanne Svejda succeeds Markus Christl as new Head of Ground Operations
Susanne Svejda, also an experienced manager from the company’s own ranks, will succeed Markus Christl. Up until now the 38-year-old manager has been Senior Director Operational Steering and Support, and therefore among others responsible for the Austrian Airlines Hub Control Center at Vienna Airport. This includes coordination, steering and monitoring of all station-relevant ground processes for Austrian Airlines and its handling partners.
New strategy program leads to a streamlining of management levels
In addition to new appointments, the reorganization of the management of Austrian Airlines will reduce hierarchical levels. In close consultation with the Works Council, 30% of all Management Positions will be eliminated. About 90 out of 300 executive positions will be cut. The area of Aircraft Asset Management will be integrated into Corporate Strategy in the future. Treasury will be integrated into Accounting & Taxation as part of the airline’s financial department. The fields of International & Aeropolitical Affairs and Corporate Communications will also be merged in the future. Greater emphasis will be placed on the issue of corporate responsibility in the newly created division, for which this new executive position will be advertised. Moreover, a separate divison for project, process and lean management will be created under the leadership of the CFO in order to ensure that Austrian Airlines remains sustainably efficient and lean in the future.
“The changes in the management team will help Austrian Airlines to gain additional clout and thus more effectively operate in the current market environment. We can only position our Austrian Airlines as a viable, future-oriented company with a strong executive team and lean structures”, concludes Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech in explaining this decision.