Despite not having a stand at this year’s WTCE Virtual gategroup will get delegates talking, with an announcement today that Xavier Rossinyol will step down as chief executive officer from November 1, 2021 to pursue new challenges outside of the airline industry. He will be succeeded by Christoph Schmitz, gategroup’s chief financial officer since January 2015.
Schmitz joined gategroup as chief financial officer and member of the executive management board in January 2015 with over 20 years of experience as a CFO at multinational companies. He has been involved in all key strategic projects and 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.
Timo Vättö, chairman of the board of gategroup, says: “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”.
Xavier Rossinyol joined gategroup in April 2015. Between 2015 and 2019, gategroup grew its revenues from CHF3bn to 5bn, enlarging its customer base to 300+ global customers and expanding its footprint to 200+ locations and its presence to 60+ countries, incorporating Servair in 2017 and LSG Europe in 2020 and developing strategic partnerships with Air France and Lufthansa.
Vättö says: “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”.
During the COVID shutdowns, Rossinyol steered the group through a comprehensive financial restructuring and accelerated the expansion into adjacent, non-aviation markets, drawing on its core competencies.
He says: “I would like to congratulate Christoph to his appointment as gategroup’s CEO. He has been a key driver of the group’s achievements over the last seven years with his talent, leadership, strategic thinking, commitment, and team focused approach. I want to thank our customers, partners, suppliers and banks for their support all along. Special thanks to the shareholders and the board of directors. And a forever thanks to the leadership team and to all employees. All we have achieved is thanks to them and our teamwork – my most personal and professional respect. I am convinced that a new era of success starts for gategroup under the strong leadership of Christoph”.
Rossinyol will remain with gategroup through January 2022, supporting the transition.