michael steen
Michael Steen

Michael Steen is to become chief executive of Atlas Air, a position which has eluded him for some time.

Currently EVP and CCO, he will take over from John Dietrich, set to retire in June. CFO Spencer Schwartz will also leave in June.

Since Atlas Air was acquired by an investor group led by Apollo, with a de-listing from the stock exchange, insiders expected an personnel exodus, but were not sure who would leave, with several fearing redundancy.

However, a source close to the company said “the management team was totally fed up with the top executives, as [they] were not involved anymore”. The source added that Mr Steen was the only one who had continued to work and meet clients, while other top execs were perfecting their golf swing or sitting it out in Florida since the takeover.

Those leaving will likely be highly remunerated, as contracts promised additional bonuses if management left the company owing to a “change of control”.

Meanwhile, Mr Steen, who has been with the airline 16 years, is expected to appoint a new CCO soon.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to lead our incredible Atlas team as we design and execute our vision for growth and embark on new and exciting opportunities as a private company,” he said. “This is a transformative time for Atlas, and the continued support from Apollo, JF Lehman and Hill City will play an important role.”

Chairman David Siegel added: “Michael’s leadership experience, strong track record of innovation and success and consistent focus on the company’s customer-centric mission makes him the ideal candidate to lead Atlas in its next phase of growth.”

Artem Gonopolskiy, SVP financial planning and analysis, will assume the role of interim CFO while Atlas seeks a permanent successor.

Perhaps top of Mr Steen’s to-do list will be to investigate how managers at 51%-subsidiary Polar Air Cargo were able to syphon forwarders’ money into their personal accounts – a case being tried under RICO rules. Atlas has so far ignored all requests for comment, while 49% Polar owner DHL Express referred The Loadstar to Atlas.

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