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Norwegian Air's surprising new CEO Pick

During the summer, it was announced that Norwegian Air's founder and CEO, Bjørn Kjos, would step down from his role. He had been in that position for 17 years and planned to take on a new role as adviser to the chairman.

The airline has been working to find a new CEO and Geir Karlsen, Norway's CFO, acted as interim CEO. Many names had been thrown around who could become the future Norwegian CEO and now it looks like that decision has been made.

Norwegian Air appoints new CEO

The Board of Directors of Norwegian Air has appointed Jacob Schram as CEO of Norwegian from 1 January 2020. Geir Karlsen will continue as CFO and Deputy CEO.

Niels Smedegaard, chairman of the board of Norwegian, had the following to say about this appointment:

“I am very pleased to announce that Jacob Schram has been appointed new CEO of Norwegian following a thorough search process. His extensive leadership experience from global companies, proven leadership skills, strong commercial consumer orientation and impressive track record for value creation will benefit Norwegian greatly as the company enters a new phase. I look forward to working with Jacob Schram and the rest of the Norwegian management team. Together, we will drive efficiency and continuous improvements for the benefit of our customers, shareholders and employees. "

I assumed that Norwegian would hire an air veteran for the service, and I had quite a few names in mind that I expected to see. Their choice was not one of them. As it turns out, this is because the new election has not worked in the aviation industry.

The 57-year-old Norwegian, Jacob Schram, has 30 years of experience in large international companies. He has previously held managers at Circle K, Statoil Fuel & Retail (SFR), McDonald's and McKinsey.

Some other notable points:

  • He led the process of listing SFR on the Norwegian stock exchange in 2010
  • He led the global reclassification of Circle K
  • He is the author of the book "The Essence Of Business"

Schram had the following to say about his new role:

“Norwegian has made flying history and I am honored to take the role of CEO. The aerospace industry is characterized by strong competition and unforeseen events, but it is also an industry that is important to people everywhere. I look forward to using my experience to build on the strong foundation laid by Bjørn Kjos, Geir Karlsen and the rest of the talented and dedicated Norwegian team. Now my main focus will be to return the company to profitability and strengthen the company's position as a strong international player in the aviation industry. "

Schram has his work cut out for him

Norwegian is in a tough financial state, so suffice it to say that Schram has got his job for him. We have seen countless European airlines liquidate in recent years, and it seems that Norwegian has only narrowly avoided it for some time.

The airline has been on the verge of liquidation, although it generally seems that things are moving in the right direction. The airline reported record profits from the third quarter, but it really is the only quarter that they make money in terms of seasonal transatlantic travel.

Still, the airline insists that they have funding to cope with next year, and they have devised some creative financing options. This seems to limit their potential upward, but at least helps them stay in business.


Congratulations to Schram for the new role. It is interesting to see an airline designate someone who has no experience in the airline industry to the position, especially given the fragile situation the airline is in. other airlines in similar situations.

Some business principles are applied in different industries, but the aviation industry is a special type of animal …

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