Helminger, a DP member of the Chamber of Deputies and former mayor of Luxembourg City, replaced Albert Wildgen, who resigned from the Cargolux board in December after 15 months in the chair’s seat. Helminger joined the Cargolux board nearly one year ago.
Cargolux said in a press statement that Alphonse Berns, the Grand Duchy’s ambassador to Belgium and NATO, Jean-Claude Finck, president and CEO of state-owned bank BCEE, which holds an 11% stake in Cargolux, Paul Mousel, a partner at law firm Arendt & Medernach, and Patrick Nickels, a senior official at the economy minister,were also elected to the airline’s board of directors.
A new strategy for the airline, which is Europe’s largest cargo carrier, is urgently needed, the government has previously said.
“My first priority will be to ensure that the strategic review currently being finalised will be adopted by the shareholders”, Helminger said in an interview with financial news site paperJam.lu.
Cargolux continues to bleed red ink and reportedly needs more than a €500 million capital injection. Qatar Airways had potentially been willing to stump up the cash, but in exchange Qatar had wanted Cargolux to dramatically reduce its fleet and eliminate more than 400 jobs by outsourcing all of its maintenance and some of its flight crews.
That was one of the main disagreements that led to Luxembourg’s government buying back Qatar’s shares, which the middle eastern carrier had bought in 2011.
Helminger stressed on Tuesday that “aircraft maintenance will not be relocated and the fleet will be reduced” by the smallest share possible.
No CEO change
The new chair said interim CEO Richard Forson would remain at this post “for the moment” and “I see no reason” to make a change “in the short term”. Forson--Cargolux’s CFO and a former CFO of Qatar Airways--has been acting CEO since August.
“Richard Forson has done an excellent job,” Helminger told paperJam.lu, which is part of the same publishing group as Delano.