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The rise and fall of André Dosé

It's all over for Dosé Keystone Archive

André Dosé rose rapidly through the ranks of Crossair and later became CEO of Swiss – one of the most visible and difficult jobs in Switzerland.

This content was published on March 11, 2004 - 11:19

His resignation marks the end of an era at Switzerland’s embattled national airline.

Dosé was born in 1957 in Bolligen, near the Swiss capital, Bern. As a child he was fascinated by flying and gained his private pilot’s licence at the age of 17.

After a spell in the Biel Verkehrsschule, a college specialising in transport, Dosé worked on the ground staff for the then national airline, Swissair.

Having being told he had no chance of becoming a pilot with the airline, Dosé left for the United States, where he obtained his commercial pilot’s licence. He stayed on to work as a pilot and during this time also met his American wife.

Rapid rise

In 1986, Dosé returned to Switzerland and took a job with Crossair. Under the tutelage of the airline’s founder, Moritz Suter, he rose rapidly through the ranks.

Despite having no managerial credentials, Dosé made it onto the board and was appointed head of airline operations.

In 2001 – a difficult year in the history of Swiss aviation – Dosé took over from Suter as head of Crossair and helped fight for the survival of the parent company, Swissair.

The grounding of the Swissair fleet in October 2001 led to the formation of a new national airline, Swiss. Dosé was named company CEO in November 2001.

But in the same month, a Crossair Jumbolino crashed on the final approach to Zurich airport killing 24 people. Nine passengers survived.

Great hope

Dosé continued to be regarded as Swiss’s great hope and saviour and was even named manager of the year in 2002. But there were clouds on the horizon, both economically and politically.

He retained his cool despite an argument between the former Swissair and Crossair pilots over pay, the successive downsizing of the fleet, speculation over joining air alliances and the search for a source of credit to keep the company going.

The CEO also came in for strong criticism from the media and joked that he was probably better known than the Swiss president.

Final straw

But the Crossair affair was to prove the final straw for Dosé.

In February 2004, the Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau published its final report into the crash. It blamed pilot error, but Crossair and the Federal Office for Civil Aviation also came in for criticism.

In a move which took some observers by surprise, Dosé announced his resignation as the chief executive of Swiss on March 10.

He said speculation that he could be prosecuted over the 2001 crash of the Crossair jet had prompted his decision to go.

swissinfo with agencies

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