FRANKFURT: Lufthansa’s communications director, Gabriele Velte,
left suddenly last week after six months in the post.
Velte joined the airline in its top PR post in January from Germany’s
largest PR agency, Kohtes and Klewes (K&K), where she was a managing
partner and was in charge of the Frankfurt office.
Her stay at the German flag carrier was marked by well-publicised
The German media criticised the appointment in January of her old
agency, K&K, to lobby for an extension to Frankfurt airport.
But it was Velte’s subsequent reorganisation of the airline’s 35-strong
communications team that is understood to have ruffled feathers and led
to her departure.
Velte divided the communications team into four divisions: press,
international PR, brand marketing and internal communications. As part
of this new structure the press office was transferred from the
passenger carrying business into the airline’s group headquarters - a
move which is thought to have been controversial within the airline.
Josef Grendel, whom Velte replaced when he retired from the airline
earlier this year, and who had continued to advise the airline as an
independent consultant, has stepped into the breach until a successor is
A K&K spokeswoman refuted allegations that Velte’s departure was
connected to the agency’s lobbying appointment. K&K first worked for
Lufthansa in March 1998, for ten months, developing the airline’s crisis
K&K was appointed to lobby for the Frankfurt airport capacity increase
in January by a board of ten, after pitching against F&L Plus. Velte was
not available for comment.