INTERNATIONAL: Lufthansa head of PR quits after six months

FRANKFURT: Lufthansa’s communications director, Gabriele Velte, left suddenly last week after six months in the post.

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

controversy.



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

found.



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

communications strategy.



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.



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