Jet Aviation parent shuffles execs

 - January 31, 2008, 4:15 AM

New Swiss guidelines on corporate governance have prompted top-level changes at Hirschmann Industrial Holding, parent company of Jet Aviation. Thomas Hirschmann has stepped down as chairman of the holding company’s board of directors and has been replaced by former Crossair chairman Moritz Suter. Hirschmann, who had been on the board since 1984, has retained his position as CEO of the Jet Aviation group of companies.

Heinz Koehli has also resigned from the Hirschmann Industrial Holding board and will now serve solely as COO of the Zurich, Switzerland-based Jet Aviation Europe, Middle and Far East division. Dr. Eugen David has also quit his post as a holding company director.

In addition to Suter, who was the high-profile leader of Swiss regional Crossair until 2001, four other new board members have been appointed. The directors now have two attorneys in their midst, Dr. Wolf-Rudiger Bub and Dr. Peter Gauweiler, along with Karl Dersch and Hans Loliger. Rita Hirschmann, widow of Jet Aviation founder Carl Hirschmann, is staying on the board as honorary chairperson.

According to a company statement on April 11, the changes have been planned for some time in accordance with the recommendations of the Swiss Code of Best Practice for Corporate Governance. The reorganization had been postponed during protracted discussions over the possible sale of Jet Aviation.

In January, shareholders decided not to proceed with the planned sale. According to the April 11 statement, “All former board members resigned voluntarily and the new board expresses thanks and gratitude for their successful and responsible performance.”