Dec 03, 2018: Effective January 1, 2019, Swissport International AG will consolidate its existing regional structure from nine to three management regions. These will be EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), Americas (USA, Canada, Latin America) and Asia-Pacific (APAC). The new structure will reduce overheads across the organisation and support faster decision making.

The new EMEA region will be managed by Luzius Wirth, currently executive VP UK & Ireland and member of group executive management. Glenn Rutherford, presently in charge of Swissport in Australia and New Zealand, will be heading up APAC. Joe Phelan, currently group chief operating officer, will temporarily head the Americas, until a permanent internal or external candidate is appointed. The three regional heads on group executive level will report to Eric Born, president & CEO of Swissport International AG.

“Our refined organisational setup brings executive management closer to our customers and our operations. More accountability will be delegated into the enlarged regions. The regional heads and their management teams will take full responsibility for commercial matters,” Born explained.

Simon Messner, currently senior VP Europe, will assume the role of executive VP ‘Performance & Innovation’ on group executive level. In this role, he will drive operational standards, manage quality, health, safety and environmental standards and oversee commercial governance. Future product development, innovation and fleet management will also fall under the scope of this new unit, contributing towards a lean and effective setup at the Zurich headquarters.

As the existing setup with nine regional management teams will be consolidated into three areas, the regional heads will replace the chief operating officer (COO) on group level. The responsibilities of the chief commercial officer (CCO) will largely move to the regional level for closer client relationships and market proximity. The new ‘Performance & Innovation’ role, will ensure that commercial governance is managed consistently at group level.

The new structure is part of a scheduled succession plan. Joe Phelan, group COO, and Nils Pries Knudsen, group CCO, will retire in the first half of 2019. All other managers on group executive level remain in their current roles.

Eric Born, who thanked the two departing colleagues, added, “Joe and Nils are very accomplished Swissport executives with extensive industry experience. On behalf of the executive management and the board of directors, I thank them for their vital contributions over the years. While I understand their decisions to retire after demanding careers in a fast-moving industry, I regret that they are leaving the company and wish them both all the best for the future.”

Swissport, on behalf of more than 850 client-companies, provides best-in-class airport ground services for some 265 million passengers annually and handles approximately 4.7 million tons of air cargo at 134 warehouses world-wide. Several of its warehouses have been certified for pharmaceutical logistics by IATA’s CEIV. With a workforce of some 68,000, the world’s leading provider of airport ground services and air cargo handling, is active at over 300 airports in 50 countries on six continents. In 2017, the group generated consolidated operating revenue of EUR 2.8 billion.

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