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Business

Mehdorn resigns as Air Berlin chief

Air Berlin has announced its Chief Executive Hartmut Mehdorn will step down after leading Germany's second-largest airline for the past 16 months. He is due to be replaced by the airline's chief strategy officer.

Air Berlin's Hartmut Mehdorn would depart as chief executive officer by mutual agreement with the airline, the German carrier said in a statement Monday.

Mehdorn would take a non-executive seat on the airline's supervisory board, the statement said.

Mehdorn would be replaced by Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, who had previously been responsible for strategy and planning at Germany's second largest airline, Air Berlin added.

Hartmut Mehdorn had been a former CEO of Germany's national railways before he became chief of Air Berlin on an interim basis in September 2011. At the time, Air Berlin founder Joachim Hunold quit amid a row over his course of rapid expansion which has run up huge debt.

In his 16-month term, Mehdorn subjected the loss-making carrier to a tough restructuring program and brought Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways on board as Air Berlin's biggest shareholder. He described his resignation as a leadership change coming at the right time.

Air Berlin said Wolfgang Prock-Schauer was a respected airline expert who was expected to continue Mehdorn's cost-cutting effort in order to write a profit as soon as possible. Prock-Schauer, a 56-year-old Austrian, previously held posts at Austrian Airlines and Indian carrier Jet Airways.

uhe/rc (AFP, AP, dpa)