The chief executive of travel giant Tui is stepping down after almost 10 years at the helm, having led the group through the pandemic.
Fritz Joussen will leave the German holiday giant at the end of September, when he will be replaced by the company’s chief financial officer, Sebastian Ebel.
Mr Joussen – who took on the role in 2013 – said Tui’s survival was seriously threatened when the pandemic hit in March 2020 but added that bosses rescued the firm, and the new chief executive can lead it back to growth.
The travel firm recently repaid some of the Covid support cash given by the German state shortly after the global shutdown.
It received three separate stabilisation packages totalling almost five billion euro (£4.2 billion) to keep it afloat amid travel restrictions and falling demand for holidays.
But Tui was forced to apologise to customers earlier this month after delays and cancellations to flights disrupted holiday-goers over the May half term and left families stranded at airports.
Airlines have struggled to cope with rising demand for flights coupled with severe staffing shortages leading to several months of disruption for travellers.
Tui Airways cancelled nearly 200 flights from Manchester Airport in June.
The firm was also embroiled in the fallout of the Ukraine war, with Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov forced to resign from its supervisory board after being hit by EU sanctions.
Tui claimed on Friday it has successfully weathered the Covid storm and its new boss will usher it into a new chapter of success.
Mr Joussen said: “When the pandemic in spring 2020 turned us into a company without a business virtually overnight, all our attention was focused on one goal: rescuing Tui.
“The immediate crisis management, which was about ensuring the group’s continued survival, has now been completed.
“Under new management, Tui is now starting the next chapter: a return to profitable growth – of course coupled with tasks from the crisis: reducing debt, strengthening the balance sheet and the further transformation of Tui.
“Sebastian Ebel will lead TUI back onto the growth path,” he added.
Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Tui’s advisory board, added: “Sebastian Ebel is an excellent choice for the new start after the Corona crisis.”