Lufthansa Cargo’s new chairman in a hurry

The German carrier's new cargo boss is an ambitious careerist, who is looking to achieve rapid results, Peter Conway reports from Frankfurt.

Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa Cargo’snew chairman, arrived at its annualresults press conference fresh from aweek-long familiarisation trip to Asia.This included discussions in Shenzhenwith Jade Cargo International,in which Lufthansa Cargo has a 25percent stake.

It was Spohr’s first trip to Shenzhenand clearly made an impression. "Ifyou want to see the future of China,you should go there," he advised theassembled journalists.

Spohr has been refusing interviewsduring his first 100 days as LufthansaCargo chairman, but it is already clearthat he is a different kind of manager tohis predecessor, Jean-Peter Jansen.

Jansen was happy to delegate andhad a relatively laid-back style, butSpohr is said to be ambitious andfocused.

A protege of former Lufthansachairman Juergen Weber, he has hada number of high profile roles on thepassenger side of the airline, mostrecently in charge of cabin crews, hubmanagement and human resources,and has even been tipped as a possiblesuccessor to current Lufthansa chairman,Wolfgang Mayrhuber.

"He has lots of connections withinthe aviation business, and is very muchin charge," says one insider. "He doesn’twant to know that something will takethree or four months; he wants resultsnow."

Good news for Spohr is that he hasinherited a business in relatively goodshape. While other European airlinesare struggling against Asian competition,Lufthansa Cargo was able toreport a 3.4 percent rise in revenue to2.845 billion euros in 2006, on a 3.5percent rise in traffic, and a similar risein profits to 121 million euros.