New leadership structure at Brussels Airlines

New leadership structure at Brussels Airlines

BRUSSELS — Brussels Airlines says it will remain a Belgian entity and Belgium’s home carrier, and will continue to grow in the wake of an executive shakeup that includes a new CEO and CFO.

The new leadership team for Brussels Airlines includes the first-ever female to head a Lufthansa Group airline. The shakeup is the latest move for the airline, backed by Lufthansa which took over the carrier in 2016.

Starting April 1 Christina Foerster will head up Brussels Airlines as CEO, while Thibault Demoulin will take on the role of Chief Operating Officer.

Two new members of the management board will be appointed shortly.

“I am very pleased that Christina Foerster has agreed to assume the position of CEO of Brussels Airlines – she is the first-ever female to head a Lufthansa Group airline,” said Thorsten Dirks, Lufthansa Group Executive Board member, CEO of Eurowings and also a member of the Brussels Airlines Board of Directors.

“We are convinced that the new team will further strengthen, together with the rest of the Brussels Airlines staff, the already successful cooperation between Brussels Airlines and Eurowings. Only together we will be able to shape the European airline industry and succeed in our sustainable growth plans,” said Dirks.

Foerster has been the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer for the past one and a half years. Her various high-profile positions in the aviation industry prior to joining Brussels Airlines include General Manager Product Management Intercontinental, Vice President Network and Fleet Development and Senior Vice President Network, Group & Alliance Development at the Lufthansa Group.

Demoulin has been Brussels Airlines’ Senior Vice President Flight Operations and Deputy Accountable Manager for the past 12 years prior to being appointed as COO.

Brussels Airlines and Eurowings, both owned by Lufthansa, started to lay the foundations for a common future in 2017, aiming to become a leading pan-European airline.

“With Brussels Airlines, we can count on a unique know-how of the African market and a long-standing expertise with long-haul operations,” said Dirks. “Right now our colleagues from Brussels Airlines are leading the process of successfully establishing long-haul operations at Dusseldorf, one of our most important platforms in Germany.”

He added: “The combined strengths of Brussels Airlines and Eurowings represent one of the three major strategic pillars of the success of the entire Lufthansa Group. This means that Brussels Airlines will continue to grow.”

The top-level shakeup means current CEO Bernard Gustin and CFO Jan De Raeymaeker are out.

“During 15 years, Bernard Gustin has made significant contributions to the company, leading Brussels Airlines successfully through growth and turbulent times. It’s clearly his accomplishment that Brussels Airlines is the number one carrier in Belgium today despite aggressive low-cost competition which is continuously trying to grab market shares.”

He added: “Planning and executing the overall Brussels Airlines restructuring plan and strategically repositioning the company after Vueling, EasyJet and Ryanair entered the Belgian market is also Jan De Raeymaeker’s merit”.

Gustin and De Raeymaeker not only provided managerial expertise, said Dirks. “Both as a team managed to steer Brussels Airlines through the aftermath of the terrorist attacks at Brussels Airport in March 2016. Thanks to professional crisis management and leadership skills, Brussels Airlines got out of the crisis even stronger than before and clearly positioned itself as a competitive, reliable and responsible airline.”

Travel Week Logo

Get travel news right to your inbox!