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It sounds as if CNS was a pretty lively event. Sadly The Loadstar wasn’t able to attend (but certainly didn’t ‘boycott’ it).

But luckily, we had our man on the ground. Who revealed that the biggest noise from the floor (and the biggest silence from the top) revolved around the sudden departure of Michael Vorwerk, president of CNS and executive director of Cargo 2000. No successor has been announced.

Despite having four years secondment from Lufthansa, he is returning to the German fold just into his third year. And, according to sources near the carrier, apparently taking on a downgraded role.

Mr Vorwerk is ‘B’ level at Lufthansa, making him one of the top managers. (The ‘A’s are the Mr Garnadts of this world.) But his new job, as director sales development Germany and board representative, Air Cargo Gateway Frankfurt, working under Florian Pfaff, is a ‘C’ level role, explains the source.

There’s not a whole lot of information coming out of Lufthansa or IATA. IATA says it thought LH Cargo wanted him back, and that perhaps now Cargo 2000’s MOP is out, Mr Vorwerk didn’t need to stay.

Lufthansa, meanwhile, is bigging up his new role, pointing out that he is responsible for the strategic project ‘Homebase Frankfurt’, which is ‘particularly important’. “In this role he acts as a board representative and I therefore can’t confirm your question regarding a lower-grading,” says a spokesman. Meanwhile, Alexander Karst has been pushed up to the top, from his previous position as regional director sales, FRA, to a career-accelerating position as director USA Northeast, a role which obeservers point out would have been relevant to Mr Vorwerk.

Vorwerk isn’t the first president of CNS to leave suddenly. Predecessor Jens Tubbesing left after just two years. Is it something about the job?

“Voices here say this is all very strange,” comments our man in Miami. “No one knows why he is leaving. And why they didn’t wait to announce it at the end of CNS, and let Mr Vorwerk have a good show first? You didn’t see him about much, I almost got the feeling he was trying to hide away a bit.”

Meanwhile, tongues were also wagging over the lack of input from Lufthansa HQ in Miami. Normally, the top LH Cargo managers are there, doing keynote speeches – Dr Otto, Carsten Spohr, Mr Garnadt. This year the Frankfurt delegation stayed away. It sounds as if there is some hand-wringing – not to mention budget cutting – back at the mothership.

There could, of course, be a very simple explanation for all this. But one suspects not. Judging by comments on the employee website, LH is a very political organisation, with much manoeuvring behind the scenes. There is likely to have been much to-ing and fro-ing concerning these changes. But LH is remaining tight-lipped.

So what for CNS, and Cargo 2000? Perhaps there’s going to be more restructuring. (Apparently IATA will be undergoing a few changes too.) The industry seems to think that C2K in particular needs some attention – it always attracts strong opinions. In Airline Cargo Management’s recent industry survey, 61% of respondents thought C2K was in need of modernisation. There was much talk of C2K in Miami, but the feeling was that the high-level managers who attended the conference, didn’t have the necessary insight to ask the right questions – and none were asked.

We’ll just have to wait and see.






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