Swissport International is consolidating its existing regional structure from nine to three management regions in order to reduce overheads across the organisation and support faster decision making.
The three new regions – effective from 1 January 2019 – will be EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), Americas (US, Canada, Latin America) and APAC (Asia-Pacific). The three regional heads on group executive level will report to Eric Born, president & CEO of Swissport International.
The new EMEA region with Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will be managed by Luzius Wirth, currently executive vice president UK & Ireland and member of Group Executive Management.
Glenn Rutherford, presently in charge of Swissport in Australia and New Zealand, will be heading up the greater Asia-Pacific region (APAC). Joe Phelan, currently group chief operating officer, will temporarily head the Americas Region, until a permanent internal or external candidate is appointed.
“Our refined organisational setup brings executive management closer to our customers and our operations,” Born says. “More accountability will be delegated into the enlarged regions. The regional heads and their management teams will take full responsibility for commercial matters.”
Simon Messner, currently senior vice president Europe, will assume the role of executive vice president ‘Performance & Innovation’ on group executive level, Swissport says.
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 on a Group level. The responsibilities of the chief commercial officer 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 the Group level, Swissport says.
The new structure is part of a scheduled succession plan with Joe Phelan, group chief operating officer, and Nils Pries Knudsen, group chief commercial officer, retiring in the first half of 2019. All other managers on group executive level remain in their current roles.
Thanking the two departing colleagues, Born says: “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.”