New faces in high places

David Bronczek
David Bronczek will take over as President and COO of FedEx Corporation on 1 February.

This week brings three big executive suite changes, two directly in the air freight world (including David Bronczek’s promotion to President of FedEx Corp), and one very close to it. We’ll start with the latter:

Etihad Airways: Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways confirmed today that, as part of a major shake-up, James Hogan will step down as President and Chief Executive Officer of the company in the second half of 2017. Hogan has led the carrier since 2006, and has been the architect of what has become known as the equity partnership strategy – that is, rather than establish partnerships or codeshare agreements, Etihad bought stakes in other carriers, particularly in Europe.

When he leaves Etihad, Mr. Hogan will take current CFO James Rigney with him, and the two will join an as-yet-unnamed investment company.

No successor for either position has been chosen, but Etihad said a global search for a new Group CEO and CFO was already underway.

Etihad may be best known as a luxury passenger carrier, but, according to IATA’s most recent data, in the last ten years it has grown from a small regional airline to become the world’s 16th biggest cargo carrier.

FedEx: Etihad may have cracked the top twenty, but FedEx is the undisputed King of Cargo, and has been for many years. It has achieved this position under the leadership of FedEx Corporation founder, Chairman, President, and CEO Fred Smith, but for many years, FedEx Express – the segment of the company that operates the freighters carrying all that traffic – has been led by David Bronczek.

Bronczek had been tabbed last year to take over the Presidency, but not until the end of 2017. But in an announcement yesterday, Fred Smith said, “substantial progress in integrating the TNT acquisition into FedEx Express now allows us to accelerate Dave’s promotion by 11 months in advance of Fiscal Year 2018.”

Replacing Bronczek as CEO of FedEx Express will be David Cunningham, who was for many years FedEx’s Regional President of the Asia Pacific Region, and, most recently, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

The changes at FedEx will take effect on 1 February.

ASL Aviation Group: FedEx, in its announcement of the promotion of David Cunningham to CEO of the Express segment, notes that, “In his new position, Cunningham will be responsible for the leadership and direction of the FedEx Express group, which includes FedEx Express and TNT.” The TNT part of the equation will include overseeing the company’s relationship the ASL Aviation Group, which acquired the former TNT Airways when FedEx acquired TNT.

It is now known as ASL Airlines Belgium, and, if reports in the European media are correct, it will soon have a new CEO in the person of Ulf Weber.

Mr. Weber is currently CEO of AeroLogic, the all-cargo joint venture of DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo, and CargoForwarder Global quotes him as saying the timing of his move to ASL Airlines Belgium depends on the decision of DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo to appoint my successor.“ In the meantime, ASL Europe CEO Colin Grant will continue as interim CEO of ASL Airlines Belgium.

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