Geir Karlsen has been appointed new chief executive of Norwegian Air Shuttle, effective immediately.

Karlsen succeeds Jacob Schram, who initially took over leadership of the airline in late 2019 and has guided it through a recent financial restructuring.

“I am pleased to announce that Geir Karlsen on request of the board has accepted the job as chief executive of Norwegian.

“Karlsen has successfully led the financial reconstruction of Norwegian and has the competencies, focus, trust and dedication that makes him the best choice as chief executive of Norwegian,” said Svein Harald Øygard, chair of the Norwegian board.

“As travel bans now are about to be lifted, Norwegian stands ready to offer thousands of flights to our customers in the Nordics and abroad.

“In parallel, further efforts will be made to strengthen Norwegian’s position as a low-cost airline and to return the company to sustainable profitability.

“Geir is the ideal chief executive to lead these efforts,” said Øygard.

Karlsen has held the position of chief financial officer with Norwegian since April 2018.

From July 2019 to December 2019, he was acting chief executive officer.

He has extensive experience from listed companies within shipping and offshore.

Karlsen has over the last 12 years held various chief financial officer positions at international companies such as Golden Ocean Group and Songa Offshore.

“I appreciate the trust given by the board of directors, and I am pleased to accept the opportunity of serving Norwegian in a new role as chief executive.

“Going forward, our main priorities will be to increase the profitability of our low-cost operations and to attract new and existing customers in all key markets.

“Norwegian is well positioned following the recent reconstruction of the company, with a strong brand, proven products and services, and not least a team of highly experienced colleagues ready to fight for every customer,” said Karlsen.

The search for a new chief financial officer will commence immediately.

The board of Norwegian yesterday voted to end the tenure of outgoing chief executive Jacob Schram.

His employment contract, signed in 2019, entitles him to nine months’ notice.

He will support the board on full-time basis during his notice period up to March next year.

He will receive his current salary until then, and thereafter a 15-month severance payment in monthly instalments, as specified in his employment contract.

Norwegian said an effort has been made by the board to bring the severance payments to a level reflecting the challenges of the industry, but no agreement could be reached.