Norwegian Air appoints new chief executive

Geir Karlsen has replaced Jacob Schram as chief executive of embattled carrier Norwegian Air.

The airline said its board voted on Sunday (June 20) to end the tenure of Schram and Karlsen’s appointment is effective from Monday.

Karlsen has been chief financial officer since April 2018. From July 2019 to December 2019, he was acting chief executive of Norwegian.

Schram’s employment contract, signed in 2019, entitles him to nine months’ notice.

He will support the board on full-time basis during his notice period up to March 31, 2022. Schram will receive his current salary until then, and thereafter a 15-month severance payment in monthly instalments, as specified in his employment contract of November 20, 2019.

The airline said: “An effort has been made by the board to bring the severance payments to a level reflecting the challenges of the industry, but no agreement could be reached.”

Welcoming Karlsen’s appointment, Svein Harald Øygard, chair of Norwegian’s board of directors, said: “Karlsen has successfully led the financial reconstruction of Norwegian and has the competencies, focus, trust and dedication that makes him the best choice as CEO of Norwegian.

“As travel bans now are about to be lifted, Norwegian stands ready to offer thousands of flights to our customers in the Nordics and abroad.

“In parallel, further efforts will be made to strengthen Norwegian’s position as a low-cost airline and to return the company to sustainable profitability. Geir is the ideal CEO to lead these efforts.”

Karlsen will receive a salary of NOK 4.5 million, a bonus contingent on the delivery of the 2021-2022 Business Plan and share options to be awarded based on the share price at the end of June 21.

Karlen said: “Going forward, our main priorities will be to increase the profitability of our low-cost operations and to attract new and existing customers in all key markets.

“Norwegian is well positioned following the recent reconstruction of the company, with a strong brand, proven products and services, and not least a team of highly experienced colleagues ready to fight for every customer.”

The search for a new chief financial officer will commence immediately.

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