The president and chief executive officer of Swissair, Jeffrey Katz, is leaving the company after three and a half years in the post.
Swissair's parent company, SAirGroup, said Katz, 45, was leaving to pursue a career in e-business in the United States. Before coming to Switzerland, Katz held a senior position within American Airlines.
In a communiqué, SAirGroup said its chief executive, Philippe Bruggisser, would take over responsibility for Swissair and the rest of the group's airline activities.
The statement outlined the innovations that Katz introduced at Swissair, including electronic air tickets (e-ticketing), electronic check-in (Smartcard), WAP technology for passengers, and the company's Internet presence.
The company also praised Katz for improving the services and branding of Swissair, citing in particular a new first-class service and a customer care programme.
Katz said he was pleased to have had the chance to work at Swissair, but that it was time to move on. "It was a privilege for me to lead Swissair...but now is the right time for a change. Swissair is well prepared for the consolidation in the European air transport business."
In a farewell message, Bruggisser praised Katz for his response to the Swissair MD-11 crash off the Canadian coast near Halifax in September, 1998. "He was a great support in Swissair's most difficult hours. This is a quality which will never be forgotten."
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