Philippe Bruggisser's resignation from SAirGroup brings to an end his 22-year career with the company. As chief executive he embarked on an ambitious and often controversial policy of acquiring smaller loss-making carriers.
Since last year, Bruggisser had been working not only as chief executive of SAirGroup but also as acting boss of Swissair, following the departure of Jeffrey Katz.
Katz resigned as head of Swissair last year after reports of strategic disputes with Bruggisser.
Philippe Bruggisser took over as SairGroup chief executive in 1997. He quickly embarked on a programme of expansion, by entering into alliances with other airlines, and acquiring smaller regional carriers such as Air Portugal and France's Air Littoral.
He also oversaw the reorganisation of the company as it moved increasingly away from its airline business and more in the direction of related airport and logistics services.
His strategy came under increasing attack as higher fuel costs forced mounting losses at SAirGroup's network of European carriers.
Bruggisser was accused of being unwilling to abandon his strategy in the face of mounting pressure for change.
Announcing his departure on Tuesday, the company said that it intends no further investments or acquisitions in the airline sector.
Bruggisser's departure may also stoke speculation that SAirGroup could consider opting out of its Qualiflyer strategy in favour of the safety and security of a bigger airline partnership, such as One World, which includes British Airways and American Airlines.
by Tom O'Brien