Entrerà ufficialmente in carica dal 1 gennaio prossimo Jacob Schram, il nuovo ceo di Norwegian. Spetterà a lui, dunque, prendere in mano il timone della compagnia aerea dopo l’addio dello storico Bjorn Kjos, cui era seguito l’interregno del cfo Gier Karlsen (che proseguirà a lavorare in azienda come cfo e deputy ceo). Schram, 57 anni, arriva da esperienze esterne al settore: nel suo curriculum ci sono infatti esperienze in Circle K (grande distribuzione organizzata), McKinsey (consulenza) e McDonald. Tutte aziende di chiaro respiro internazionale.
Il suo primo compito sarà quello di riportare in attivo i bilanci della compagnia, che negli ultimi tempi ha dovuto affrontare un periodo non facile da punto di vista finanziario.
(David Nikel Forbes)
Norwegian Air’s most turbulent year in its history is coming to an end with the appointment of a new permanent boss. The former gas station retail executive Jacob Schram will take over the reigns at Norwegian Air from January 2020. Geir Karlsen, who took temporary charge following Bjørn Kjos’ resignation earlier this year, will continue as CFO and Deputy CEO. Norwegian made the announcement today via an official stock exchange announcement. Shares in the company rose 0.74 percent following the news, according to Norwegian news website e24.
“Norwegian has created a piece of Norwegian industrial history and it is an honor to be appointed CEO of this company,” said Schram in a statement. He stopped short of commenting too much on the current circumstances, but it’s clear he understands the challenges ahead.
“The aviation industry is characterized by strong competition and unforeseen events, but above all, aviation is crucial for a great many people. My most important task going forward will be to bring Norwegian back to profitability and further consolidate its position as a strong player in international aviation,” he added.
Who is Jacob Schram?
The new CEO of Norwegian has no aviation experience, but he does bring 30 years of business experience to the table. He has a Master’s degree in Economics from Copenhagen Business School and has held executive positions at Circle K, Statoil Fuel & Retail, McDonalds and McKinsey.
The 57-year-old Norwegian led the listing of Statoil Fuel & Retail in 2010 and joined the global management team. He also led a substantial program of change at Circle K.
“I look forward to using my experience to build on the foundation Bjørn Kjos, Geir Karlsen and the rest of the Norwegian management have created, together with skilled employees in the company,” he said.
Following his departure from Circle K in 2018, Schram has spent time on personal investments in startups and promoting a book.
The challenge ahead
Schram joins Norwegian in the midst of a major shift in strategy for the carrier. After years of growth, financial troubles along with external issues including the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet saw a change in focus from growth to profitability.
This has led to major change in the route network for 2020 including a drastic reduction in the number of long-haul routes between the U.S. and Europe. However, the airline has actually increased frequency on its most profitable routes.
Shoring up the airline’s finances will surely be priority number one for Schram. The airline has turned to investors for urgent help twice this year. Just two months ago, bondholders accepted a delay in repayment that gives the leadership extra time to turn things around.
Stock options for a global leader
Niels Smedegaard, chairman of the board at Norwegian, said it was Schram’s extensive management experience that stood out:
“His extensive management experience from global companies, clear customer focus and ability to create value is precisely what Norwegian needs now that the company is entering a new phase where growth is slowing down and we will focus on profitability,” he said.
It isn’t known what salary Schram will receive in his new role. However, he and Karlsen will both receive 300,000 share options, according to a second stock exchange announcement. The price of these options is 43 Norwegian kroner ($4.68) and they can be redeemed in three years.