BERNARD GUSTIN SET TO LEAVE BRUSSELS AIRLINES AFTER YEARS OF SUCCESSES
(Posted 05th February 2018)
Brussels Airlines has just announced a major change at the helm of the company, due to come into effect at the end of March.
Long serving CEO Bernard Gustin will leave the company on the 31st of March together with the airline’s CFO Jan de Raeymaeker.
Christina Foerster will take over as CEO as of 01st of April this year, supported by Thibault Demoulin who will work alongside Christina as the airline’s Chief Operating Officer.
It is understood that two new board members will also be appointed shortly.
Said Thorsten Dirks, the CEO of Eurowings, a Lufthansa company under which the Belgian flag carrier has been placed when announcing the changes: ‘Brussels Airlines will continue to grow – the professionalism, expertise and passion of the Brussels Airlines staff are a vital part on our joint path to success. Bernard Gustin and Jan De Raeymaeker have made significant contributions to Brussels Airlines, leading the company successfully through growth and turbulent times – thanks to them Brussels Airlines is Belgium’s number one carrier today‘.
Thorsten Dirks then continued to introduce the new top management team at Brussels Airlines and said: ‘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. 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. Brussels, as the European capital, continues to be a stronghold in our growth strategy‘.
Christina Foerster has been the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer for one and a half years and has been living in the Belgian capital since then and is therefore no stranger to the top corridors of the company. She has held various high-profile positions in the aviation industry prior to joining Brussels Airlines, among them General Manager Product Management Intercontinental, Vice President Network and Fleet Development and Senior Vice President Network, Group & Alliance Development at the Lufthansa Group.
Belgian Thibault 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. He has an excellent track record in establishing safe, reliable and punctual operations at Brussels Airlines, which makes him the perfect fit as the carrier’s COO.
Continued Thorsten Dirks: ‘With Brussels Airlines, we can count on a unique know-how of the African market and a long-standing expertise with long-haul operations. 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. This strong new leadership team, together with the passion, and the expertise of the Brussels Airlines staff, is a vital part in realizing the future plans of the Eurowings Group – and not just that. 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‘.
Etienne Davignon, Co-Chairman of the Board of SN Airholding then added his own take when he said: ‘In 2017, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings gradually started to lay the foundations for a common future, in which the strengths of both airlines will be combined, with the ambition to build a strong, sustainable and leading pan-European airline. Growing within the Eurowings Group as a Belgian entity will allow us to further build on our specificities, such as our Africa expertise and our distinguished Belgian touch. Together with Eurowings, we will further expand our long-haul reach out of Brussels and Dusseldorf, and in particular continue to fulfil our role as Belgium’s home carrier and important economic engine of our country‘.
Etienne Davignon, Co-Chairman of the Board of SN Airholding, and Thorsten Dirks wish to thank Bernard Gustin and Jan De Raeymaeker for their years of dedicated service and excellent leadership at Brussels Airlines and wish both all the very best for their future endeavours.
‘During 15 years, Bernard Gustin has made significant contributions to the company, leading Brussels Airlines successfully through growth and turbulent times‘ said Davignon and Dirks. They pointed out that Bernard Gustin has put the Belgian carrier back on the European map. ‘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‘.
In his five years as CFO of Brussels Airlines, Jan De Raeymaeker at the same time significantly contributed to the success of the company, said Dirks and Davignon. ‘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‘.
Bernard Gustin and Jan De Raeymaeker not only provided managerial expertise, Dirks concluded his remarks: ‘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‘.
Best wishes for his future go to Bernard Gustin, personally known to this correspondent, with thanks for past cooperation and support and a warm welcome to Christina when she moves from her current position as COO into the executive suite as CEO at the beginning of April.
Brussels Airlines flies daily between the European capital and Entebbe, Uganda’s gateway to the world, with six flights routing via Kigali / Rwanda and one flight routing via Bujumbura / Burundi.