Exiting Pichler Will Continue On Fiji Airways Board
Despite Stefan Pichler’s surprisedeparture from Fiji Airways as its managing director/chief executive, he will continue to serve on the airline’s board.
Mr Pichler leaves to head Air Berlin on February 1 next year following requests from the Office of the Chancellor of Germany.
Although not having a hand in active running of Fiji Airways, through his position on the board Mr Pichler said he will make sure the airline continues in the direction it took under his guidance.
He will also play an active role in recruiting his successor.
Reasons for leaving
Mr Pichler said in September-just a year into his tole at Fiji Airways- he received a call from the German Chancellor’s office. He was urged to return to Germany and head Air Berlin which is not doing well financially.
“I have informed my chairman and the Government that I had a call from the Office of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany in September,” he said.
“This was urging me to come home to serve as the managing director/ CEO of a large company with a lot of employees in Europe, called Air Berlin. This company is not in a very good shape. There are different things and I won’t elaborate on the details but it needs dramatic turnaround.
“So, I struggled with that. Here in Fiji, we have a great team, we have a great future. Fiji Airways is flying high, it is flying in the right direction.”
As a native German, he said it was difficult for him to ignore a call from the highest office.
“On the other hand, it is very difficult if you are a native German and then the Chancellor’s Office calls you, it is difficult to ignore it. I think every one of us is a little bit patriotic.
“Somehow I was caught in a big, big dilemma. Finally, I made the call to respect the call by the German Government and to take this job next year.
“Very sadly, I had to make that call. Thankfully, the Government and the Board understands the whole dynamics, which is basically driven by the Government of my home country. We will now continue to fight for our cause here at Fiji Airways. ”