Frankfurt Surprising change at Lufthansa Technik. Johannes Bussmann will leave the airline group’s maintenance subsidiary at the end of June. The company announced on Friday that he would leave the group at his own request. His successor will be Sören Stark on July 1st. The 55-year-old is currently Chief Operating Officer.
Bußmann has been a member of the board of maintenance specialists for ten years and has been head of the company for seven years. The 53-year-old will leave the Lufthansa Group entirely and will become CEO of a large German technology company. Lufthansa Technik is silent on the name.
Bußmann is quoted as saying in the company’s statement that he looks back very gratefully on the past few years as CEO and the total of 23 years at Lufthansa Technik. “Now it’s time to take on other tasks outside of aviation, which I’m really looking forward to.”
It can be heard from corporate circles that Bussmann is not going into the dispute. “He just wants to do something different at the age of 53,” said one manager. The parent company’s considerations of selling parts of the maintenance subsidiary are said to have played no role in the decision. Bussmann is said to have a positive attitude towards a partial sale or a partial IPO of Lufthansa Technik.
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It is unclear when a decision will be made as to whether Lufthansa will part with parts of the technology subsidiary. Originally, a fundamental decision should be made by the end of last year. But it is becoming apparent that the further plans with the offshoot will be announced at the earliest after the presentation of the balance sheet for the past year in March.
>> Read about this: Lufthansa Technik boss: “We extend technical life”
“I would like to thank Johannes Bussmann for his outstanding work at Lufthansa Technik,” said Detlef Kayser, member of the Group Executive Board and at the same time Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Lufthansa Technik. While the airlines in the group posted losses in the first nine months of 2021 due to the pandemic, Lufthansa Technik was able to contribute positive earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 123 million euros.
Lufthansa Technik is one of the world’s largest maintenance providers in aviation. The company has more than 30 subsidiaries and associated companies and over 20,000 employees. Sources of income such as long-term maintenance contracts with airlines also make the company interesting for financial investors.
The board of directors had already started considering parting with parts of the technology well before the pandemic began. The background at the time was the plan to show the value of the entire group more clearly on the stock exchange. The Munich-based maintenance and engine specialist MTU Aero Engines – largely comparable to Lufthansa Technik – is valued at just under ten billion euros on the stock market. Lufthansa as a whole is currently only worth a good eight billion euros.
Partial sale of Lufthansa Technik remains an issue
In the severe crisis triggered by Corona, in which Lufthansa had to be rescued with state money, the plans gained new momentum because the group had to raise money. In the meantime, the state aid has been paid off, so the acute pressure to sell is gone. However, the basic logic of showing the value of the Lufthansa Group better still applies.
Should there be a partial sale, it would probably be the task of Bussmann’s successor to accompany this strategic decision. Stark has been a member of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik since 2019. Before that he was responsible for operations at Lufthansa Cargo.
The manager is very familiar with the group and also with Lufthansa Technik. Because he started his career at Lufthansa Technik in 2004 as Managing Director of Lufthansa Technik Logistik. Between 2011 and 2016, the industrial engineer was in charge of aircraft overhaul in the technical department.
“Sören Stark has distinguished himself in various positions in our group and has done a great job,” said Kayser, board member of the group, about the future technology CEO. Stark has demonstrated his skills, among other things, during the pandemic: “With his great competence, experience and leadership strength, he will lead Lufthansa Technik successfully into the future.”
More: Expansion for little money: This is behind the Lufthansa plan for ITA