SAS names new president and chief executive

SAS has appointed Anko van der Werff to its board of directors, as well as into the role of president and chief executive – effective from mid-July 2021.

Van der Werff currently leads the airline group at Avianca Holdings in Colombia.

SAS also appointed Karl Sandlund, chief commercial officer at SAS, as acting president and chief executive as of today, succeeding Rickard Gustafson, who will leave the company to join SKF on June 1.

Chairman of SAS’ board of directors, Carsten Dilling, commented: “I’m proud that we today can announce Anko van der Werff as the new chief executive for SAS.

“Van der Werff clearly comes out as the strongest addition to our current highly qualified and strong performing top management team. He has deep knowledge of the airline industry and long experience from different international carriers. This will be important tackling the challenges SAS will be facing in the years to come, in an unpredictable post-Covid recovery period.

“He is well familiar with Scandinavia and I believe that he will be a great cultural match for SAS. It is an advantage in our current situation that he will start his position already in July.

“In order to ensure a smooth and forward-looking transition, chief commercial Officer Karl Sandlund will be acting president and chief executive until van der Werff starts in Stockholm.

“Again, I would like to thank Rickard Gustafson for an excellent job done for SAS and for our great personal cooperation. On behalf of the board and SAS, I wish Gustafson all the best and good luck in his new role with SKF.”

Van der Werff added: “I am very honored to be the new chief executive of SAS.

“SAS is the leading carrier of Scandinavia with a strong brand and a proud aviation history which has been of great importance for connecting the region domestically and with the rest of the world.

“I am looking forward to continuing the excellent sustainability journey that SAS has started and that I believe will be instrumental for transforming the airline industry. I am eager to getting to know the team, the different stakeholders and to get started. It is no secret that Covid-19 has impacted the entire aviation industry, but SAS has a strong foundation to build upon and I am sure that by working together between all stakeholders, SAS will come out stronger.”

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