CEO of Germany’s second-largest airline Air Berlin PLC steps down


BERLIN — Germany’s second-biggest airline, Air Berlin PLC, said Monday that its chief executive is stepping down after leading a drive to turn around the company over the past 16 months.

Air Berlin said CEO Hartmut Mehdorn, a former head of Germany’s national railway who took over on an interim basis in September 2011 after company founder Joachim Hunold quit, is retiring from the position with immediate effect “by mutual agreement.”

He is being replaced by Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, the airline’s chief strategy and planning officer and a former chief executive of India’s Jet Airways and British Midland.

Mehdorn will become a non-executive director of Air Berlin.

Air Berlin has struggled in Europe’s highly competitive travel market. Under Mehdorn, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has become its biggest shareholder with a stake of nearly 30 percent. It also has joined the Oneworld alliance, which includes British Airways and American Airlines.