Deutsche Lufthansa AG appointed Simone Menne, who has worked for the carrier since 1989, to succeed Stephan Gemkow, making her the sole female chief financial officer in the DAX index of the 30 largest German companies.
Menne, currently CFO at the company’s former BMI unit, will assume her new role on July 1, Cologne, Germany-based Lufthansa said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. She will also be Lufthansa’s first female board member, spokesman Christoph Meier said yesterday by telephone.
“In Simone Menne we are appointing to the board an experienced Lufthansa manager who knows the company and the industry very well,” said Chairman Juergen Weber.
German Labor Minister Ursula von Leyen has repeatedly called for gender quotas in DAX companies’ management and supervisory boards. She told Bild-Zeitung in April that they remain behind medium-sized companies, who have increased the share of women in leading positions to 30 percent.
In succeeding Gemkow, who will leave June 30 to become chief executive officer at Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH, 51-year-old Menne will help supervise a profit improvement plan that aims to save 1.5 billion euros by 2014 and will lead to the loss of 3,500 administrative jobs worldwide.
The job cuts, 2,500 of them in Germany, will help deliver one third of the savings Lufthansa is seeking through 2014. A global purchasing project will also shave 200 million euros from expenses this year, and “traffic optimization” should recoup at least 10 million euros.
Europe’s second-biggest airline, which has about 117,000 employees, 16,800 of them in clerical posts, said last week its first-quarter operating loss widened to 381 million euros. That was bigger than analysts had estimated, as economies slowed and fuel costs weighed on earnings.
Prior to assuming the role in June 2010 of CFO at BMI, which Lufthansa sold to International Consolidated Airlines Group SA in April, Menne led finance and accounting at the Lufthansa Technik support unit. She was also a project manager reorganizing revenue management at the passenger airline in the late 1990s.