Ex-Air Berlin chief Mehdorn to head hobbled Berlin airport | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 08.03.2013
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Ex-Air Berlin chief Mehdorn to head hobbled Berlin airport

Former Air Berlin airline chief Hartmut Mehdorn has been named new CEO of Berlin's troubled airport project. The post has been vacant for a while after the former CEO was sacked and no-one wanted to succeed him.

Hartmut Mehdorn had been appointed new Chief Executive of Berlin-Brandenburg Airport Authority (FBB), German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer said Friday.

Mehdorn succeeds Rainer Schwarz, who was fired as CEO in January over massive delays in opening the new hub.

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Ramsauer said he was glad to have been able to hire Mehdorn for the post as he had proved to be a successful manager at several major German companies.

"He possesses outstanding management qualities and a high degree of commercial and technical expertise," said Ramsauer, who represents the German government in the FBB board.

In January, 70-year-old Mehdorn resigned from the chief executive post at Germany's second-largest airline Air Berlin after implementing a major restructuring program.

He gained experience in running a big state-owned company while heading Germany's national railways for several years. Before that, he held senior management post at former German planemaker Dasa, as well as at Heidelberger Druck, a printing machine builder.

Mehdorn, who was reported to be paid 500,000 euros ($645,000) a year, accepted the post as a patriotic duty, seeing completion of the troubled Berlin airport as a challenge of national importance, Ramsauer added.

The owners of FBB had some difficulty finding a new chief executive as the airport project is fraught with problems of cost overruns and a series of delays and technical flaws. The new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) is supposed to replace the city's two aging airports Tegel and Schönefeld, and was scheduled to open in late 2011. It is now expected to be finished next year, although FBB officials haven't named a specific date yet.

uhe/rc (AFP, dpa)  

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