• Joe Breitfeller

SAS Appoints Anko Van der Werff as New President and Chief Executive Officer

SAS AB’s Board of Directors has appointed Anko Van der Werff as the airline’s new President and Chief Executive Officer from July 15, 2021. Mr. Van der Werff will join SAS from Avianca Holdings, where he currently serves a President & CEO.


SAS Appoints Anko Van der Werff as New President & CEO - Photo Inset Courtesy of Avianca

On Wednesday (April 28, 2021), SAS announced the appointment of Anko Van der Werff as the carrier’s new President and Chief Executive Officer from July 15, 2021. Mr Van der Werff (45) is a Dutch native with extensive experience in the global airline industry. Currently, he serves as Avianca Holdings President & CEO in Colombia. Prior to joining Avianca, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Grupo Aeromexico (2014-2019), SVP Pricing & Revenue management at Qatar Airways Group (2010-2014), and held various leadership positions at Air France/KLM (2000-2010). Mr. Van der Werff is fluent in Dutch, English and Spanish and has a basic understanding of Italian, French and Swedish.


In Wednesday’s announcement, SAS AB’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Carsten Dilling, said,

“After an extensive, thorough and intense process, I have been excited to see the comprehensive field of top talented candidates from the global airline industry that SAS as a brand is attracting – further strengthened by a large interest in SAS’ ambitious efforts within sustainability. Therefore, I’m proud that we today can announce Anko van der Werff as new CEO for SAS AB. Anko clearly comes out as the strongest addition to our current highly qualified and strong performing top management team.


“Anko has deep knowledge of the airline industry and long experience from different international carriers. This will be important tackling the challenges SAS will be facing in the years to come, in an unpredictable post Covid-19 recovery period. He is well familiar with Scandinavia and I believe that he will be a great cultural match for SAS. It is an advantage in our current situation that he will start his position already in July.


“In order to ensure a smooth and forward-looking transition, Chief Commercial Officer Karl Sandlund, will be acting President and CEO until Anko starts in Stockholm. Again, I would like to thank Rickard Gustafson for an excellent job done for SAS and for our great personal cooperation. On behalf of the Board and SAS, I wish Rickard all the best and good luck in his new role with SKF.”


Also commenting on his new role, Anko Van der Werff, said,


“I am very honored to be the new CEO of SAS. SAS is the leading carrier of Scandinavia with a strong brand and a proud aviation history which has been of great importance for connecting the region domestically and with the rest of the world. I’m also thrilled to be returning to Scandinavia. I have very fond memories of my four years here, both from a professional perspective but also as a family since our oldest two children were born here. I am looking forward to continuing the excellent sustainability journey that SAS has started and that I believe will be instrumental for transforming the airline industry. I am eager to getting to know the team, the different stakeholders and to get started. It is no secret that Covid-19 has impacted the entire aviation industry, but SAS has a strong foundation to build upon and I am sure that by working together between all stakeholders, SAS will come out stronger.”


SAS is the leading airline in Scandinavia, normally carrying over 30 million passengers annually from its main hubs in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm to 125 destinations in Europe, the US and Asia (pre-pandemic figures). The company has targeted a reduction in carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels and hopes to transition to 100% biofuel for domestic flights by 2030. SAS also offers ground handling services, technical maintenance and cargo services. The carrier is a founding member of the Star Alliance, which offers an extensive global network.



Source: SAS

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