Lufthansa Group has named Swiss International Air Lines chief executive Christoph Franz as its deputy chairman, while Harry Hohmeister will succeed him as the head of Swiss.

The changes in the carriers' senior management, which will take effect from 1 June, will potentially position Franz to take over from Lufthansa chief Wolfgang Mayrhuber when his term expires next year.

Lufthansa has increased the number of seats on its executive board from three to four in order to accommodate Franz. The company is also shuffling responsibilities in order to ease the integration of other airlines into the group.

"We are equipping ourselves at the right time for future tasks and challenges," says Mayrhuber. "This is a logical step necessitated by the growth and gratifying development of the group in recent years as well as by the expansion of the group airline network."

 © Swiss International Air Lines

Franz will head a new division which will be responsible for Lufthansa's passenger airlines.

Executive board member Stefan Lauer will head a new division, group airlines and corporate human resources, which will emerge from the current aviation services and human resources arm.

It will manage group carriers not included in the arm being led by Franz, and develop co-operation between Lufthansa's current and prospective subsidiary airlines - including Swiss, Brussels Airlines, Austrian and BMI - and others.

Lufthansa's finance division will be extended to include aviation services, with executive board member Stephan Gemkow in charge of the maintenance, catering, logistics and information technology units.

Swiss' new chief executive, network and distribution head Harry Hohmeister, will take up his post on 1 July. Until then he will serve as deputy chief to Franz.

"We will continue to flexibly align our capacities to changed and changing demand," says Hohmeister. "And we'll continue to work hard on our costs. In these crisis times, more than ever, we'll be keeping a firm and constant focus on our customers in everything we do."

Hohmeister formerly worked for Lufthansa, becoming responsible for the German carrier's network, before leaving in 2000 to join Thomas Cook Airlines and, in 2005, Swiss.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news