Geir Karlsen has been appointed the new CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, effective immediately, after the company’s board voted to end the 18-month tenure of Jacob Schram.
“The board’s decision to fire me came as a big surprise,” Schram told Reuters.
Karlsen has been Norwegian’s chief financial officer (CFO) since April 2018. From July 2019 to December 2019 he was acting CEO of Norwegian.
“Karlsen has successfully led the financial reconstruction of Norwegian and has the competencies, focus, trust and dedication that makes him the best choice as CEO of Norwegian,” said Norwegian chairman Svein Harald Øygard.
“As travel bans now are about to be lifted, Norwegian stands ready to offer thousands of flights to our customers in the Nordics and abroad.
“In parallel, further efforts will be made to strengthen Norwegian´s position as a low-cost airline and to return the company to sustainable profitability.
“Geir is the ideal CEO to lead these efforts.”
The search for a new CFO will commence immediately.
“I appreciate the trust given by the board of directors, and I am pleased to accept the opportunity of serving Norwegian in a new role as CEO,” said Karlsen.
“Going forward, our main priorities will be to increase the profitability of our low-cost operations and to attract new and existing customers in all key markets.
“Norwegian is well positioned following the recent reconstruction of the company, with a strong brand, proven products and services, and not least a team of highly experienced colleagues ready to fight for every customer.”
Schram’s employment contract, signed in 2019, entitles him to nine months’ notice. Norwegian said he will support the board on full-time basis during his notice period up to March 31, 2022.
“He will receive his current salary until then, and thereafter a 15 month severance payment in monthly installments, as specified in his employment contract of November 20th 2019,” said Norwegian.
“An effort has been made by the board to bring the severance payments to a level reflecting the challenges of the industry, but no agreement could be reached.
“Geir Karlsen will receive a salary of NOK 4.5 million ($521,000), a bonus contingent on the delivery of the 2021-2022 Business Plan and share options to be awarded based on the share price at the end of day, June 21st 2021.”