Putzger perspective: Changing places

Dorothea von Boxberg Credit: Lufthansa Cargo

Lufthansa Cargo is changing chief executives – again. Dorothea von Boxberg has departed for Brussels, where she assumes her new role as chief executive of Brussels Airlines, another outfit in the Lufthansa Group.

In addition, she is taking on the mantle of “Representative of the Executive Board to the European Commission”.

The dual role, which involves looking after a carrier that is still struggling to return to black, indicates that top brass at the Lufthansa Group have been impressed with her performance and leadership at the helm of Lufthansa Cargo.

It was a rather short spell. Von Boxberg became chief executive in March 2021, having been with the cargo outfit since 2015.

These two years in charge saw record results. Admittedly, the 2021/22 window was a time of unprecedented opportunities for cargo, but you still do not achieve such results on autopilot.

She has more to her credit than record revenues and profits. Under her leadership, Lufthansa Cargo has played a leading role in the airfreight industry’s push to advance ESG, and she has presided over the development of a regional freighter network with narrowbody aircraft, to name just two examples.

You can’t blame Lufthansa for moving a talented and promising executive to a demanding new role in the passenger business.

Likewise, you can’t blame von Boxberg for leaving the cargo business for an interesting new challenge that also marks a step forward in her career.

This column has sometimes criticised airlines for treating cargo as a stepping stone on a career ladder. Lufthansa has always attached a high priority to cargo, but it is still not an end in itself, it seems.

Von Boxberg’s move is a reminder that for a short spell, the dog was wagging the tail. At the end of the day, the passenger business is a lot more important to combination carriers, regardless of whether or not they operate freighters.

In closing, I want to stress that the above is not suggesting that Lufthansa Cargo is getting a second choice as its new chief executive.

Ashwin Bhat has proven to be a highly successful leader in this industry, as his earlier tenure at the helm of Swiss WorldCargo amply illustrates.

Lufthansa is blessed to have such executives as von Boxberg and Bhat, but for the sake of its cargo business, it would be better if it kept them a bit longer there.

Putzger perspective: Freighters lose altitude

Putzger perspective: e-freighters anyone?

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