INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Lufthansa needs communications director - again

FRANKFURT: Lufthansa is once again looking for a communications director.

FRANKFURT: Lufthansa is once again looking for a communications director.

FRANKFURT: Lufthansa is once again looking for a communications

director.



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

communications.



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.



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