SWISS airline boss to quit at year’s end

Thomas Klühr has led SWISS for more than four years, including the devastating pandemic months. Keystone / Ennio Leanza

The CEO of Swiss International Air Lines, Thomas Klühr, will step down at the end of the year to take up a role on a new body that will monitor the government’s bailout of the industry.

This content was published on September 29, 2020

Klühr has led SWISS since February 2016 as part of a 30-year career at Lufthansa Group, which owns Switzerland’s national carrier. He is leaving his current post for “personal reasons”, read a SWISS statementExternal link. Klühr delayed his departure to steer the company through the worst of the coronavirus pandemic that has devastated the airline industry.

He will also resign as chairman of charter airline Edelweiss at the end of 2020.

“Thomas Klühr has brought SWISS a long way further on its successful course. And following the outbreak of COVID-19, with his skill and his commitment he has played an essential part in stabilizing the company in financial and operational terms,” said SWISS chairman Reto Francioni.

Klühr will take up a new position at the Swiss Aviation Foundation, a body that has yet to be created but will monitor the future development of the Zurich Airport hub. This was a condition set down by the government when it agreed to a nearly CHF1.9 billion ($2 billion) airline bailout in April.

Nearly CHF1.3 billion of the funds will go to SWISS and Edelweiss. The government wants to make sure the funds are directed towards strengthening the industry in Switzerland rather than being spent elsewhere within the Lufthansa group.

The government will appoint a chairman and two further members of the Swiss Aviation Foundation while Lufthansa and SWISS are to each appoint one member. Klühr will be one of these two people.

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