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A surprising new Pick CEO from Norwegian Air



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In the summer, it was announced that Norwegian Air's founder and CEO, Bjørn Kjos, would resign from his role. He was in this position for 17 years and planned to take on a new role of the Chairman's advisor.

The airline is working on finding a new CEO, and Geir Karlsen, the Norwegian financial director, acted as a temporary CEO. There are several names about who could be the future Norwegian CEO, and now it seems that such a decision has been made.

Norwegian Air appoints a new CEO

Norwegian Air's board of directors appointed Jacob Schram as CEO of Norwegian from January 1, 2020. Geir Karlsen will continue to be the chief financial officer and deputy director general.

Niels Smedegaard, chairman of the board at Norwegian, said of the nomination:

"I am very pleased to inform you that Jacob Schram has been appointed the new CEO of Norwegian, after a thorough search process. His extensive management experience on the part of global companies, proven leadership skills, a strong focus on commercial clients and impressive achievements in value creation will bring significant benefits to Norway when the company enters a new phase. I look forward to working with Jacob Schram and the rest of the Norwegian management team. Together we will increase efficiency and continuous improvement for the benefit of our clients, shareholders and employees. "

I assumed Norwegian would hire an airline veteran for this position, and I meant a lot of the names I expected to see. Their choice was not one of them. As it turns out, it is because the new selection did not work in the aviation industry.

The 57-year-old Norwegian, Jacob Schram, has 30 years of experience in large international companies. Prior to that, he held managerial positions at Circle K, Statoil Fuel & Retail (SFR), McDonalds and McKinsey.

Some other important points:

  • In 2010, he managed the SFR listing process on the Norwegian Stock Exchange
  • He led the global rebranding of Circle K
  • Is the author of the book "The Essence Of Business"

Schram had to say about his new role:

"Norwegian has gone down in aviation history and I am honored to be the CEO. The aviation industry is characterized by strong competition and unforeseen events, but it is also an important industry for people around the world. I am looking forward to using my experience to build strong foundations for Bjørn Kjos, Geir Karlsen and the rest of the talented and dedicated Norwegian team. Now my main goal will be to restore profitability and strengthen the company's position as a strong international player in the aviation industry. "

Schram has a job for him

Norwegian is in a difficult financial situation, so it's enough to say that Schram has a job for him. Over the past few years, we've seen the liquidation of countless European airlines, and it seems that Norwegian has been avoiding this for a long time.

The airline is on the verge of decommissioning, although overall it seems that everything is going in the right direction. The airline reported record profits for the third quarter, although this is actually the only quarter in which they earn money, given the seasonality of transatlantic travel.

Nevertheless, the airline insists on having the means to survive next year and has developed some creative financing options. This seems to limit their growth potential, but at least it helps them stay in business.

Bottom line

Congratulations to Schram for the new role. It is interesting for the airline to appoint someone with no experience in the airline industry, especially given the fragile situation of the airline. I'm not saying it's a bit of an idea, but it certainly destroys the trend that we saw in other airlines in similar situations.

Some business rules apply in different industries, but the aviation industry is a special kind of beast …

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