Swissport appoints new chief executive for its western European division

Published: Sunday, July 5, 2020

GROUND handling giant Swissport has appointed a new chief executive of its western European division, which is currently considering cutting more than 4,000 jobs to inject some liquidity into the business, writes Thelma Etim.

Liam McElroy, former interim chief operating officer (COO) of the company’s airport ground services unit in the UK and Ireland, takes over from Jason Holt, who has decided to step down after successfully initiating the streamlining of the business to match the reduced demand in the post-COVID-19 market, reveals a company statement.

McElroy has held a number of senior executive positions, including regional distribution director at the Tesco supermarket chain and operations director at DHL, where he was responsible for four distribution centers.

Prior to joining Swissport, he spent 13 years at Wincanton, the UK’s largest logistics company, assuming the roles of managing director of retail and the consumer division and a member of the executive board.

McElroy will report to Luzius Wirth, executive vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and member of the group executive management of Swissport International AG.

Wirth declares: “We are pleased to welcome Liam as new head of Swissport in western Europe. He can build on many years of relevant professional experience and has been successfully leading our Western Europe Ground Services unit as its COO on an ad hoc interim basis.

“We are grateful to Jason for his valuable contributions to Swissport over the years. He has been fully committed to the western Europe area, where most recently he has done much to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and on our people, both economically and in terms of protecting the reputation of Swissport and its staff.”

Last month, subsidiary Swissport Belgium, a ground handler at Brussels Airport, filed for bankruptcy alongside its sister company Swissport Belgium Cleaning, after the failure of all attempts to rescue the loss-making business.

The two enterprises had depended on repeated cash injections from Swissport International, a situation which was further exacerbated by the pandemic and the expiry of its largest airline customer contract, bringing great revenue uncertainty, a company statement explained.

The group’s overall global revenue, which collapsed by 80 percent as result of the pandemic, is now gradually recovering

Last year, Swissport International handled some 4.6 million tons of airfreight at 115 cargo warehouse locations worldwide.