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Lufthansa rotates chiefs at cargo division, subsidiary airlines

German carrier also names new CFO

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LSE: LN) last week changed the leadership of its cargo division as part of a routine corporate reshuffle and the hiring of a new chief financial officer.

Lufthansa Cargo CEO Peter Gerber, 56, was named the head of Brussels Airlines, effective March 1, and will assume the newly created position of executive vice president of the Lufthansa Group for European affairs in the Belgian capital, pending board approval. The company promoted Dorothea von Boxberg, 46, the chief commercial officer at Cargo, to succeed Gerber.

Gerber replaces Dieter Vranckx at Brussels Air, where he will continue the implementation of the company’s “Reboot Plus” turnaround plan coming out of the coronavirus downturn. Vranckx, 47, will take the helm at Swiss International Airlines on Jan. 1, succeeding Thomas Klühr, who will leave the company as planned for personal reasons.

Vranckx, a dual Swiss and Belgian citizen, has held several senior positions at Lufthansa since 2001, including high-level sales positions at Swiss. Between 2010 and 2013 he was regional director for the U.S. Midwest and Canada at Lufthansa Cargo in Chicago. In 2018 he joined Brussels Airlines as CFO, and this year he took over as CEO. 

Meanwhile, Lufthansa appointed Remco Steenbergen, 52, as its new CFO, effective Jan. 1. 

After the resignation of Ulrik Svensson and Thorsten Dirks this year, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr  took over the responsibilities of the CFO on an interim basis. 

“With Remco Steenbergen, we will have a distinguished financial expert with extensive experience in the capital markets joining us as the new Lufthansa Group CFO,” said Chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley, in a statement. “Remco Steenbergen brings with him excellent financial expertise from various companies as well as industries and has also impressed the Supervisory Board with his personality. Especially now, when the pandemic is having such serious consequences for air travel, an internationally experienced and well-respected CFO is more important than ever for Lufthansa Group: not only to overcome the current crisis but also for the coming years, when we have to – and want to – pay back government stabilization funds.”

The German government bailed out its flag carrier in late June with direct investments and loans to help it survive the financial crisis brought on by travel business lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

Steenbergen, a Dutch citizen, most recently was CFO of Barry Callebaut Group based in Zurich. Before that he worked at Philips and at KPMG. 

Swiss also announced that Claus Bauer, 51, in February will replace Peter Wojahn, who is retiring, as head of technical fleet management and process owner engineering. Bauer joins Swiss from Lufthansa Technik, where he heads engine repair and maintenance work. He helped the company establish major new operating locations under joint-venture partnerships and has been a proponent of digital innovations such as numerical fleet life-cycle optimization, according to Lufthansa.

Wojahn has helped Swiss through its biggest fleet renewal ever with the Airbus A220 and the withdrawal of other jets from service.

Gerber has held numerous executive positions since joining Lufthansa in 1992, including as head of finance, human resources and information technology.

Lufthansa said von Boxberg’s replacement as chief commercial officer will be announced at a later date.

Lufthansa is one of the largest air cargo airlines in the world, utilizing a large fleet of freighter aircraft and the lower-deck space of its passenger fleet.

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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at