OUR SPEAKERS

 

CEO
Air France-KLM Group

Benjamin Smith is a senior airline industry veteran, having spent twenty years at Air Canada before joining Air France-KLM as Chief Executive Officer. In 1990, while at university, he started part time as a Customer Service Agent at Air Ontario.

In 1992 he followed an entrepreneurial path and established his own retail corporate travel agency, successfully running this business for eight years. In 2002 he joined Air Canada, envisioning and subsequently leading its Tango subsidiary.

Benjamin later became Vice President, Network Planning, followed by Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer in 2007, and subsequently President, Airlines (Air Canada, Rouge, Express, Cargo) and Chief Operating Officer in 2014. He assumed overall responsibility for commercial, operations, and customer service functions, and spearheaded their commercial growth strategy, resulting in impressive financial performance.

In August 2018 Benjamin Smith was appointed CEO of Air France-KLM, and in December, a member of the Air France-KLM Board of Directors.

CEO
Volotea

Carlos holds a degree in Business Administration from Madrid’s ICADE (University of Comillas, 1992) majoring in Finance, and an MBA (1998) from the Harvard Business School.

He started his professional career in the family-run company Antonio Muñoz y Cía. (AMC). After his MBA, he moved to San Francisco, California, as a consultant for McKinsey.

In 2003, Carlos founded Vueling Airlines (today one of the largest low-cost airlines in Europe), where he served as CEO from 2003 to 2007, leading the company to a successful flotation in the stock market in late 2006. From 2009 to 2011, Carlos prepared his second airline project, Volotea, which started operations in 2012. Carlos gathered a team of first-rate investors and professionals with vast experience in the airline industry. In 2018, new selected investors joined his project, supporting the fastest-growing independent airline in Europe.

Volotea connects medium and small-sized European cities with non-stop flights at very competitive prices and has carried more than 25 million passengers. In 2019, Volotea expects to carry between 7.5 and 8.0 million passengers. Workforce exceeded 1,300. In 2020, Volotea will operate 38 aircraft, between Airbus A319s and Boeing 717s, serving 346 routes that link more than 90 cities in 13 European countries.

Member of the European Parliament

Caroline Nagtegaal MEP (1980) was elected in the European Parliament since November 2017 on behalf of the Dutch liberal party VVD. The VVD is part of the Renew Europe group. She just started her new mandate and she wants to make the next five year to a success.

As substitute member of the Committee for Transport and Tourism (TRAN) and vice-chair she deals with aviation conventions, Single European Sky, rules for road transport and sustainability of the harbours. She wants to remove barriers for rail and inland shipping and tackling unfair competition from China and Gulf States for our maritime and aviation sector.

As substitute member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) she is involved in subjects as macro-economics, financial regulations, EMU, FinTech, Bitcoin and crowdfunding. She focusses on improving the resilience of the financial markets and enhancing growth potential of European SMEs, for example by developing an EU framework for crowdfunding. She is also working on a new budgetary tool that promotes structural reforms in the Member States. Besides that, she is part of the Sky & Space Intergroup in the European Parliament.

Prior to her election to the European Parliament, Ms. Nagtegaal worked at Royal Schiphol Group and Port of Rotterdam Authority. She dealt with public & external affairs for those companies.

Chairman of the Executive Board & CEO
Lufthansa Group

Carsten Spohr has been Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG since May 2014. He has been a Member of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Group since January 2011 and held various management functions in the Lufthansa Group since October 1994 including CEO of Lufthansa German Airlines as well as CEO of Lufthansa Cargo AG. He completed a management training course at Deutsche Aerospace AG before pursuing his career at Deutsche Lufthansa AG. He holds a degree in industrial engineering and a Lufthansa captain´s license for the aircraft of the Airbus A320 family.

Chief Commercial Officer
Airbus

Christian Scherer was appointed Airbus Chief Commercial Officer in September 2018 and is a Member of the Company’s Executive Committee. He is also heading Airbus International. He was previously Chief Executive Officer of ATR, a position he held since Nov 2016. Prior to this, Christian was Executive Vice-President and Head of Airbus Group International, responsible for driving the overall Airbus Group internationalisation strategy Christian started his professional career in 1984 when he joined Airbus Industrie as a Commercial Contracts Manager. He was seconded to the US between 1987 and 1994 as Vice President Contracts of Airbus North America, responsible for pricing, financial performance, negotiation and implementation of all sales transactions in North America. On his return to headquarters, as Vice President Leasing Markets, he developed and managed an integrated sales division covering all commercial activities dealing with operating leasing companies and other financial institutions worldwide. In 1999, he was appointed Vice President Contracts and Pricing worldwide while retaining leadership of the Leasing Markets Division and in 2003 became the Deputy Head of Commercial. Following his time in Commercial, he became Head of Strategy and Future Programs at Airbus, responsible for defining Airbus’ long term strategic objectives and for driving the genesis of future aircraft product offerings and programmes, such as the A320neo, as well as Airbus’ international development such as the establishment of the US final assembly lines. In 2012, he was appointed Head of Sales & International Operations at Cassidian in Munich, Germany, responsible for Sales, Marketing, Strategy and Cassidian’s International Subsidiaries including Brazil, India, KSA, UAE, UK and USA. Upon integration of Airbus’ Defence, Space and Military aircraft businesses, he became the Head of Marketing & Sales of Airbus Defence and Space and Managing Director of Airbus Defence and Space GmbH. In that role, he held the overall responsibility for all Sales & Marketing activities. He also chaired BDLI´s defence and security forum whilst being a member of the BDLI presidium. Born in 1962 in Duisburg, Germany, and raised in Toulouse, France, Christian Scherer holds an MBA from the University of Ottawa and graduated from the Paris Business School (ESCP) in 1984.

Deputy Director General
Directorate-General

Since 1 September 2019, Clara de la Torre is appointed Deputy Director-General in the Directorate-General for Climate Action. Until September 2019, she was Director for 'Transport' in the Directorate-General for Research & Innovation at the European Commission. Previously, starting in 2014, she was responsible for 'Key Enabling Technologies', following a 3-years' appointment as Director in the field of 'Research and Innovation.' In her first post as a Director, from 2008 to 2010, she was in charge of 'Inter-institutional and legal matters related to the Framework Programme' at the European Commission. After a couple of years in private sector, her professional career was focussing on the research policies which became the springboard to working opportunities at the European Commission in 1987. In the late 90's, she was dealing with 'National Research Policies & Intergovernmental Cooperation.' She was also working at the EU Joint Research Centre both in Brussels and Seville, where she was Advisor to the Director of the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies. Clara de la Torre has a degree in Economics and Business Administration from the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid.

Brussels Bureau Chief
Wall Street Journal

Mr. Michaels was previously the WSJ’s German Business Editor, overseeing corporate reporting on Europe’s biggest economy and coverage of the European Central Bank. For 15 years prior to that, Mr. Michaels was the WSJ’s Aerospace & Aviation Editor for Europe, covering airlines, aviation and aerospace industries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and coordinated with other Journal reporters worldwide. Mr. Michaels previously covered Central & Eastern Europe for the WSJ, based in Warsaw, where he initially moved in 1991 to work as a management consultant in privatization; he also worked briefly on privatization in Russia. Before moving to Poland, Mr. Michaels was a management consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton in New York City, working across a range of industries in the U.S. and Canada.

Member of the European Parliament

Born in Cork, Ireland. Ms Clune qualified as a Civil Engineer at University College Cork in 1980 and has worked with Delap & Waller, Roughton & Partners and Arup. She also obtained a Higher Diploma in Environmental Engineering in 1996. Ms Clune is a former Member of the Irish Parliament (1997-2002, 2007-2011) and the Upper House of Parliament (2011-2014). She was elected Lord Mayor of Cork in 2005. Ms Clune has been an MEP since 2014, first working on the TRAN and EMPL committees and in the ninth legislature, has been working on the IMCO and TRAN committees.

EU Climate & Energy Reporter
Bloomberg News

Ewa Krukowska is a Brussels-based correspondent covering the European Union for Bloomberg News. She focuses on EU climate and energy policies, including the region’s carbon market, regulation on renewables and security of energy supplies. Before moving to Brussels in 2009, Ewa worked for Bloomberg News in Warsaw, covering foreign-exchange and bond markets in emerging economies. Prior to that, she was a correspondent for Reuters in Poland from 1998 to 2007, reporting on economics, politics and stock markets as well as climate and energy policies in central and eastern Europe.

Anchor
Bloomberg Markets and the European Market Close

Guy Johnson is based in London and covers top business, economic and market moving news for Bloomberg TV and Radio. He joined Bloomberg in 2012 from CNBC. He has specialized in the aviation sector for 25 years, covering many of the industry's landmark events.

Director-General for Mobility and Transport
European Commission

Henrik is the Director-General for Mobility and Transport in the European Commission. He is an economist by training and holds degree from TalTech (Tallinn Technical University). He has also studied in Aarhus University in Denmark.

Between 1995 and 2004 he held various positions in the Estonian Government Office and was mainly responsible for coordinating the work for the Estonian accession to the European Union, working directly with the Prime Minister.

In 2004 he moved to the European Commission as Head of Cabinet of Vice President Siim Kallas. He went on to become Deputy Secretary General of the European Commission and then in 2015 he became Director-General for Mobility and Transport.

Throughout the years he has been awarded several honours, was named “European of the Year” by the Estonian European Movement in 2014 and has participated in ICAO Assemblies in 2010, 2013 and 2016. He is also a board member for both the Estonian School of Diplomacy and the Hermes Air Transport Organisation.

Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales & Marketing
The Boeing Company

Ihssane Mounir is senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing for The Boeing Company, the world’s largest aerospace company and the leading manufacturer of commercial airplanes. Appointed to this position in 2016, Mounir is responsible for the sales and marketing of commercial airplanes and related services to airlines and leasing customers around the world. Prior to his current role, Mounir held senior leadership positions in Boeing’s Commercial Sales & Marketing organization. For over five years, Mounir served as vice president of Sales for Northeast Asia, responsible for leading sales in the world’s largest and fastest growing market. Mounir and his team managed airline customer relationships and market development in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Mounir joined Boeing as a senior aerodynamics engineer in 1997. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in aerospace engineering from Wichita State University.

CEO
easyJet

Having joined easyJet in December 2017 Johan has launched the company’s biggest ever programme to increase operational resilience - reducing cost and improving customer experience. He has set out a significant increase in investment in easyJet Holidays, showcased a series of initiatives to increase business passengers, revealed plans to introduce a new loyalty programme and outlined plans to invest in data. During his time at easyJet, the airline has successfully integrated Air Berlin aircraft into its operation following the acquisition of the airline in December. Johan has also reaffirmed the company’s commitment to increase the proportion of female pilots with a target of 20% of new entrant pilots by 2020.

Johan has more than 30 years’ experience in the travel industry and spent his career working his way up through various organisations to become most recently the Group Deputy CEO of TUI AG and CEO of Mainstream Tourism at TUI AG.

Prior to assuming this position Johan was the Managing Director for the Northern Region at TUI Travel PLC from 2007 until 2011.

Chairman
ACI Europe

Jost Lammers (52) was born in Oldenburg, Germany, in 1967. On completing secondary school he entered vocational training with a bank and performed his military service with the air force. He then studied business administration and economic sciences in Bayreuth, Witten-Herdecke and San Diego. After graduating with a degree in economics, he began his career with an automotive supplier in 199LJ. Two years later he joined the German construction group HOCHTIEF AG, working primarily in investment and portfolio management. In 1998 he transferred to the airport management subsidiary HOCHTIEF AirPort GmbH, where he took on various roles at the airports in Dusseldorf and Athens, in which HOCHTIEF is a shareholder. In Athens he was involved in the commissioning and opening of the new airport. Mr. Lammers took on the role of managing director of the ground handling subsidiary of Dusseldorf Airport in 200LJ. In 2008 he was appointed CEO of Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. In addition, in 2019 he was voted president of Airports Council International [ACI) Europe, the industry association representing the interests of Europe's international airports. Jost Lammers is married and has two sons.

Chief Operating Officer
TUI Group
CEO
airBaltic

Martin Gauss is the Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of airBaltic since November 2011. Under his leadership airBaltic was successfully restructured to profitability. The decision to purchase Airbus A220-300 (Bombardier CS300) in 2012 let airBaltic to become the launch operator for that aircraft in 2016. With the development of the new business strategy "Destination 2025" and an order of up to 80 Airbus A220-300 aircraft in 2018 the transition to a single fleet type is planned to be completed by 2023. Martin Gauss is in the aviation industry for 28 years and he started out as a pilot on Boeing 737 with British Airways subsidiary Deutsche BA in 1992. From 1995 he was working in different management functions of Deutsche BA, and became a joint Managing Director of Deutsche BA (dba) and a 10% stakeholder. Under Martin Gauss dba became profitable and was sold to Air Berlin in 2006. Martin Gauss still holds a Captains license.

Executive Director, Content
FlightGlobal

Max Kingsley-Jones is executive director content at FlightGlobal. He was appointed as editor of Flight Airline Business in December 2010, having spent 14 years with Flight International, where he ultimately became deputy editor. Kingsley-Jones previously spent a decade working at Airclaims and also had a short spell with Aviation Week magazine.

CEO
Ryanair Holdings

"Mr. Michael O’Leary has served as Ryanair CEO since 1993. Born in a stable, at Christmas 1961, he was a boy genius who excelled academically and in the sports field. Having represented Ireland at bog snorkeling and flower arranging, he graduated from Trinity College Dublin as soon as they could get rid of him. He became a very boring KPMG accountant until yet another failed career choice sentences to him to lifelong servitude in the airline business, as he is manifestly unsuitable for employment in any properly functioning industry. Due to his unique combination of rugged good looks, supreme intellect and profound humility, Ryanair has grown to become Europe’s favorite airline. Unlike many successful businessman, he holds no honorary doctorates or titles, since no respectable institution would wish to have its reputation tarnished by association with him. Bearing a remarkable resemblance to George Clooney’s younger brother, it is widely known that women find him (sadly) resistible, and even his 4 children think he’s ‘’stupid”. "

Chief Technical Officer
Rolls-Royce

Paul Stein was appointed to the Rolls-Royce Executive Leadership Team as Chief Technology Officer in April 2017 to be accountable for the company’s technology investment and for ensuring close alignment with business strategy to maintain a competitive edge. Prior to that, Paul was Research & Technology Director accountable for the company’s global investment in R&T, as well as fostering innovation and promoting and sustaining specialist engineering talent. He joined Rolls-Royce in 2010 as the Chief Scientific Officer and for two years concurrently acted as the Engineering and Technology Director for the Company’s Nuclear business. Paul was Director General, Science and Technology, at the UK Ministry of Defence immediately prior to joining Rolls-Royce. Prior to that, he was Managing Director of Roke Manor Research which was then owned by Siemens, and in 2003 was appointed to the Siemens UK Executive Management Board, leading technology and contributing to business strategy. Paul holds an Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree from King's College, London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Professor, Department of Management, Economics and Quantitative Methods
University of Bergamo

From 2001, Full Professor of Finance at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Bergamo.

From 2006 to 2016, Scientific Director of the ICCSAI (International Center for Competitiveness Studies in the Aviation Industry).

From 2009 to 2012, External examiner in the MSc in Air Transport Management at the Department of Air Transport of the Cranfield University (UK).

From 2009, Airneth Academic Fellow and member of the Airneth Scientific Board, an international group of the most representative academic researchers in Air Transportation.

From 2009 to 2015, Rector of the University of Bergamo.

From April 2011 to September 2013, Secretary General of the CRUI (the Italian Council of the Rectors of Italian Universities).

From September 2013 to September 2015, President of the CRUI (the Italian Council of the Rectors of Italian Universities).

From April 2013 to April 2017, Board Member of the EUA (European University Association).

From January 2016, Member of the Steering Committee of the Istituto Toniolo, founder and promoter of the Sacred Heart University of Milan.

In June 2016, Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin.

From July 2016, Member of the Coordinating Council for Higher Education of Portugal, an advisory board of the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education.

From November 2016 to May 2018, Chairman of the Coordination Committee of the Human Technopole.

From May 2017 to December 2019, Special Commissioner of Alitalia, nominated by the Ministry of Economic Development.

Managing Director
A4E

"Thomas Reynaert is Managing Director of Airlines for Europe (A4E), Europe’s largest EU airline association, since March 2016. A4E was founded in January 2016 by Air France-KLM, easyJet, International Airlines Group (IAG), Lufthansa Group and Ryanair. Prior to joining A4E, Thomas was President of United Technologies (UTC) International Operations (Europe), where he led their European government relations activities between 2008–2015. During this time, he provided counsel to the corporation and its business units on EU rulemaking and policy, and served as a corporate liaison for key decision-makers in the EU institutions and national governments. Prior to joining UTC, Thomas led the government relations and regulatory affairs team for Nortel Networks in EMEA, in 2000. Previously, he was director of EU public affairs for Lucent Technologies (today: ‘Alcatel-Lucent’). Thomas was a member of the Supervisory Board of the UTC Company OTIS Management GmbH (Germany) from 2008-2014. From 2011-2015 he was Chair of AmCham EU’s Security and Defense Committee, and in 2015 was appointed a Member of the Executive Committee of the European Centre for Public Affairs (ECPA). "

Member of the Group Executive Committee and Chair, TUI Care Foundation
TUI Group
Executive Vice President, Renewable Aviation
NESTE

Thorsten served as Head of Fuel Procurement (global), Lufthansa Group (2001 - present), Product Manager, Automotive Lubricants, FUCHS DEA Schmierstoffe GmbH&Co KG (1999-2001) and Industry Lubricants, DEA Mineraloel AG (1998 – 1999) as well as Marketing Manager and Pricing Groundfuels, DEA Mineraloel AG (1992 – 1997). Member of the IATA Fuel Working Group since 2006, Member of the Star Alliance Fuel Advisory Group since 2004 and Chairman of the IATA Commercial Fuel Group in 2014 – 2016.

CEO
Finnair

Topi Manner joined Finnair from Nordea, the largest financial services group in the Nordics. He has led Nordea’s Personal Banking business and been a member of Nordea’s Group Executive Management team since 2016. Prior to that, he held various management and other positions at Nordea between 1997-2016.

CEO
International Airlines Group (IAG)

Willie Walsh became chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG) when the company was created in January 2011, joining from British Airways where he was chief executive from October 2005.

IAG is the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and LEVEL. It is one of the world’s largest airline groups with 588 aircraft flying to 279 destinations and carrying around 113 million passengers each year.

Prior to joining British Airways, he was chief executive at Aer Lingus, a position he was appointed to in the aftermath of 9/11.

Born in Dublin in 1961, Willie joined Aer Lingus in 1979 as a cadet pilot. He held several management positions in Aer Lingus before being appointed chief executive of Futura, a Spanish charter airline owned by Aer Lingus in 1998. He returned to Dublin with Aer Lingus in 2000 where he took up the role of chief operating officer and was subsequently appointed as chief executive in October 2001.

He completed a Master of Science in Management and Business Administration at Dublin’s Trinity College in 1992.