The cost-cutting CEO of Lufthansa airlines is under fire after a budget airliner crashed in the French Alps and claimed 150 lives. Carsten Spohr, whose reign has seen multiple pilot strikes amid claims of poor working conditions, declared a dark day for his company and traveled to the crash site, near Barcelonnette. The crashed plane, an Airbus A320, was operated by Germanwings, Lufthansa’s budget airline.
Here’s what you need to know about Carsten Spohr:
1. Lufthansa’s Pilots Have Gone on Strike 10 Times Since He Took Control of the Airline
Since taking control of Lufthansa, Spohr has sought to compete more with Europe’s low-fare airlines. The New York Times reported in December 2014 that in doing-so, Spohr has had numerous problems with his staff which has manifested itself in the ten strike actions his pilots have taken against him. The airlines’ staff were protesting the potential for cuts with Lufthansa’s move into the low-fares sphere. The piece adds that “Lufthansa aims to use the Eurowings brand to break into a market sector that few others in Europe have dared to enter: cheap long-distance flights.”
2. He’s Paid $3 Million Per Year
Carsten Spohr, 48, is paid around 2.7 million Euros per year, according to his Bloomberg profile. That translates to just under $3 million. That bio adds that he’s been on the board of Lufthansa since January 2010 before ascending to CEO in on May 1, 2014.
3. Spohr Was the Former Captain of an Airbus A320
According to his bio on Lufthansa, he holds a captain’s license for an A320 Airbus. That’s the same aircraft that crashed into the French Alps on March 24. His profile says that he learned to fly with Lufthansa in Germany and at the Airline Training Center in Arizona. After graduating from flight school, he went to work for German Aerospace, making him an employee of Mercedes Benz. In October 1994, he returned to Lufthansa to work in personnel before working his way up the ladder to the boardroom.
4. His Wife Heads Up Lufthansa’s Aid Initiatives
On his Lufthansa bio, it reads that he’s married to a woman named Vivian and that the couple have two kids together. A September 2014 post on Lufthansa’s website indicated that Vivian Spohr had been appointed as the head of the airline’s Help Alliance which has aid projects in 18 different countries. According to her Facebook page, the couple live together in Munich. She attended college in Karlshrue, just like Carsten Spohr.
5. He Was a Guest of President Obama at the White House in May 2014
Shortly after becoming CEO of Lufthansa in May 2014, Spohr was invited to the White House by President Obama along with several other business leaders. The purpose of the meeting was to help international companies extend job opportunities in the U.S.