FRANKFURT: Lufthansa is once again looking for a communications director.
FRANKFURT: Lufthansa is once again looking for a communications
Gabriele Velte left the position without warning last week after six
months as the company’s top PR executive. She had joined the airline in
January from Germany’s largest PR agency, Kohtes & Klewes (K&K), where
she was the managing partner in charge of the Frankfurt office.
Josef Grendel, whom Velte replaced when he retired earlier this year,
and who had continued to advise the airline as an independent
consultant, will fill the post until a successor is found.
Velte’s stay at the German flag-carrier was marked by more than her
share of well-publicized controversy. The German media criticized the
hiring of K&K to lobby for an extension to the Frankfurt airport, citing
it as a conflict of interest.
But it was Velte’s subsequent reorganization of the airline’s 35-strong
communications team that is said to have ruffled feathers and led
directly to her departure. Velte divided the communications team into
four divisions: press, international PR, brand marketing and internal
As part of this new structure, the press office was transferred from the
passenger-carrying business into the airline’s group headquarters -
clearly a controversial move.
A K&K spokeswoman denied allegations that Velte’s departure was
connected to the agency’s lobbying appointment. The agency first worked
for Lufthansa in March 1998, developing its crisis communications
strategy. K&K won the Frankfurt airport business increase in January
after pitching against F&L Plus.
Lufthansa has a staff of 12,000 flight crew, 9,000 attendants and more
than 3,000 pilots and flight engineers.