Norwegian announces a new management structure

Norwegian Air Shuttle has made this announcement:

CEO Jacob Schram has announced a new management structure in Norwegian. The biggest changes involve two distinct commercial units in the Group, greater employee and customer focus, more efficient operation and, not least, an organization that facilitates broad cooperation across the business.

“I have been committed to putting in place a management structure that takes us from growth to profitability by delivering our new Norwegian strategy and business plan. In order to run a profitable and sustainable company going forward, I will build the commercial part around two distinct entities with clear P&L responsibilities,” says CEO Jacob Schram.

By bringing departments together to focus on our customers we gain insight and power to innovate and use smart choices throughout their customer journey. We will remain true to the core values of Norwegian which have been in place since its inception – a popular company that offers good quality flights at a good price.

I have also been committed to improving operations through a simplified structure, clear roles and responsibilities, as well as even more efficient operations,” he continues.

The new group management will be in place from June 2, 2020.

The new departments and management positions:

The newly created AIRLINE department will have the full responsibility for the profit of the core business. The department shall ensure an optimal network of routes, optimize prices, plan flight operations, as well as carry out ongoing sales and marketing activities. The department will be headed by Andrew Hodges, who is currently head of Network Strategy & Planning in the current Norwegian commercial department. Hodges has over 20 years of experience in aviation, including 12 years at low-cost airline easyJet, where he has held several management positions in commercial and finance. He has also worked for British Airways and Deloitte.

AIRLINE ECOSYSTEM is also a new department. The department will have full performance responsibilities and will drive new business ecosystems in connection with the company’s core business. This will take place through partner agreements and new customer platforms. A new manager will be announced in due course, meanwhile Brede Huser will lead the department until a new manager is in place. He is currently head of the Norwegian Reward benefits program.

Responsibility for the entire customer journey will fall under the new CUSTOMER department. The department will deliver the agreed products and services to both the Airline and Airline Ecosystem unit through concept / product development, brand & marketing, customer activation and customer service. The new head of this department is Christoffer Sundby, who will start on the 1st of September. Sundby has a broad experience from operational management, product and concept development, marketing and sales backgrounds. He has formerly worked for Unicare, Circle K, Statoil Fuel & Retail, Statoil and McKinsey. Until September 1st, the department will be headed by Kei Grieg Toyomasu, who is currently Head of Marketing and Digital Channels.

OPERATIONS will work towards the Airline profit unit and provide agreed products and services within flight operations, as well as technical and maintenance, ground services, security and emergency preparedness. A new leader for this area will also be announced in due course. Tore Kristian Jenssen will continue to lead the department until a new leader is in place.

CFO Geir Karlsen continues in his position as head of FINANCE & CONTROL.

IT, SUPPLY CHAIN AND PROCESS IMPROVEMENT is a newly created function that will optimize and streamline all of the company’s processes, systems and procurement. IT and procurement will be centralized to this department, which will also run the company’s business centers and provide lean and optimized processes throughout the company. The department will be headed by Knut Olav Irgens Høeg, who is currently responsible for Procurement, IT and the customer center in Norwegian.

The PEOPLE department will have overall responsibility for all the company’s employees, including pilots and cabin crew. All HR activities, including all training and development of employees will also form part of this department. HSE and trade union dialogue will be priority tasks for this unit. The department will be headed by Guro Poulsen, who currently heads Crew Management in Norwegian.

COMMUNICATIONS will be responsible for external and internal communication, sustainability and public affairs. The department will be headed by Anne-Sissel Skånvik.

In other news, Norwegian has confirmed that the company restructuring has been completed and that the state loan guarantee of in total NOK 3 billion has been approved. The company has now converted NOK 12.7 billion of debt to equity and laid a solid foundation for the future, although the next months will remain challenging.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported the company during this unprecedented crisis that has affected the entire the airline industry: The Government and Parliament; customers; employees: shareholders; leasing companies; creditors; bondholders, the travel industry and other Norwegian supporters. Now that we can access the state loan guarantee, we can continue to transform the company. Through this process, the belief in New Norwegian and the company’s strategy have been confirmed by shareholders, the market, bondholders, leasing companies, other creditors and lenders. Nevertheless, the months ahead will remain challenging and with a high degree of uncertainty for the industry. Norwegian will still need to collaborate closely with a number of creditors as the company currently has limited revenues,” said CEO Jacob Schram.

Since the end of 2018, Norwegian has taken significant actions to restructure its operations and return to profitability. The company was on the path to deliver a positive net profit in 2020, and this summer was set to be the strongest in the company’s history. Instead, the coronavirus outbreak and global travel restrictions has led to a substantial drop in demand.

The Company has seized this time as an opportunity to restructure and develop a new strategy and business plan – New Norwegian – for a strengthened airline to re-emerge when travel restrictions are lifted and demand returns.