September 13 2021  |  People

gategroup names new CEO

By Rick Lundstrom

gategroup announced today that Xavier Rossinyol will step down as Chief Executive Officer effective November 1, 2021, to pursue new challenges outside of the airline industry, and will be succeeded by Christoph Schmitz.

Schmitz joined gategroup as Chief Financial Officer and member of the Executive Management Board in January 2015 with more than 20 years of experience as a CFO at multinational companies. In his capacity as Group CFO, Schmitz has been involved in all key strategic projects of the group. He led the public-to-private ownership transition in 2016, the acquisitions of Servair and LSG Europe, the changes of ownership in 2018 and 2019, and the restructuring initiatives in 2021 to secure the group’s financial position. In addition, he has led a significant consolidation of the group’s IT infrastructure and applications landscape achieving material efficiency gains.

Rossinyol joined gategroup in April 2015 and led the company through a strong growth phase with record year-on-year financial results; and navigated the complex COVID-19 pandemic.

Between 2015 and 2019, gategroup grew its revenues from CHF3 billion to CHF5 billion (US$3.26 billion – US$5.43 billion), enlarging its customer base to more than 300 global customers and expanding its footprint to more than 200+ locations and its presence to more than 60 countries. In the course of this expansion, the group incorporated Servair in 2017 and LSG Europe in 2020 developing strategic partnerships with Air France and Lufthansa.

“From a near-global air travel shutdown in 2020, gategroup took decisive action to protect its employees, customers, and other stakeholders,” said a release from gategroup. “With the support from the shareholders, lenders and bondholders, it completed a comprehensive financial restructuring of the group in 2021 and accelerated the expansion into adjacent, non-aviation markets, drawing on its core competencies."

“Under Xavier’s leadership, gategroup has truly become a global food-focused company and the world leading inflight caterer, being recognized for providing the most innovative culinary and retail offering tailored to individual customer needs in any market they operate, consistently and efficiently. gategroup is uniquely positioned today for the return of travel and to serve new customers beyond aviation”, said Timo Vättö, Chairman of the Board of gategroup.

“Christoph’s contribution has been instrumental to drive the market consolidation strategy and secure the financing to enable gategroup weathering the crisis. The Board is confident that under Christoph’s leadership, the gategroup team will resume and accelerate on its growth path,” added said Vättö.

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