FRANKFURT: Lufthansa has appointed a new communications director
following the departure of Gabriele Velte after only six months in the
job (PR Week, 23 July).
Klaus Walther, 44, currently director of communication at Europe’s
largest natural gas importer Ruhrgas AG in Essen, will take over the
post before the end of the year.
Velte joined Lufthansa in January from Germany’s largest PR agency,
Kohtes and Klewes, where she was managing partner in charge of the
Frankfurt office, but was soon criticised for hiring K&K to lobby for an
extension to Frankfurt airport. Her re-structuring of the communications
department was also unpopular.
Walther would not comment on whether he might seek to reverse the
changes Velte introduced, namely the splitting of the 35-strong
department into four separate divisions, and the relocation of the press
office from the passenger-carrying business into the group
Walther, who prior to working for Ruhrgas was a news anchor with German
national channel ZDF, said he would enjoy working in the aviation
industry, where he had experience from his journalistic career and
’Once you get experience within the aviation industry you get addicted
to it,’ he said.
Since her departure, Velte’s predecessor Josef Grendel, who retired this
year, has filled the post on an interim basis.