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Air Berlin chief to step down

Air Berlin's chief executive Wolfgang Prock-Schauer is to step down and be replaced by Stefan Pichler on 1 February 2015.

Prock-Schauer is leaving the top job "at his own request" and will return to his previous position as chief strategy and planning officer, says the carrier. After joining Air Berlin to take up that role in 2012, Prock-Schauer succeeded Hartmut Mehdorn as chief executive in January 2013.

Pichler has been at the helm of Fiji Airways since September 2013, and was previously chief executive of Kuwait-based budget carrier Jazeera Airways for four years. At both operators, he managed turnaround programmes.

From 2004 until 2009, Pichler worked for Virgin Group in Australia. He was commercial chief at Virgin Blue Airlines and chaired V Australia, which was launched under his leadership.

Upon joining Air Berlin, he will become responsible for all business units and airline operations across the group. The loss-making German carrier is in the midst of a turnaround programme which "aims to deliver sustainable profitability over the long term", it says.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways is Air Berlin's largest shareholder with a 29% stake.

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