The Etihad Aviation Group has named Robin Kamark as the new CEO for Airline Equity Partners. Mr Kamark will be responsible for leading and developing the group’s minority equity investment strategy, which includes stakes in Air Serbia, Air Berlin, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Air Seychelles, Etihad Regional and Virgin Australia. The biggest existing problem in Etihad’s partner portfolio is Alitalia, which is seeking a financial bailout following continued heavy losses. Etihad has a 49% stake in the Italian airline. Germany’s Air Berlin also has significant problems. Mr Kamark will report to group President and CEO James Hogan, and takes over from Bruno Matheu, who is leaving the post for personal reasons. Mr Kamark rose through a succession of strategy, commercial and general manager roles at SAS Scandinavian Airlines, where he became CCO. For the last five years, he has been the Executive Vice President and CCO of Storebrand, a Nordic financial services business. “Robin is a well-respected leader in global aviation, with wide-ranging experience at SAS Group. He performed important roles in the restructuring of that airline and has broadened his experience more recently in financial services”, Etihad Aviation Group Chairman, Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, said. He added, “Our equity partner strategy continues to be an important element of our business model, and Robin will drive the strategy by adjusting and progressing our approach. We would like to thank Bruno for his sterling efforts over the last two-and-a-half years, as we have built and consolidated our equity partner approach”, he said. Mr Kamark will take up his new position in October 2017.
Etihad Airways said in late December it was “fully committed” to its 49% stake in Air Serbia following reports the Emirati carrier was considering reducing its share in the airline. “Speculation about a change to Etihad Aviation Group’s investment in and support for its equity partner, Air Serbia, is totally inaccurate and wholly unfounded. Etihad is and remains fully committed to Air Serbia and to the strategic partnership with Air Serbia’s majority owner, the Government of Serbia”, the Etihad Aviation Group said in a statement. It added, “Since its relaunch, just over three years ago, Serbia’s national airline has been transformed into a profitable, sustainable, and best-in-class, airline”. Last month, Mr Hogan noted, "When I look at the roadmap going forward with Air Serbia, I think it is a good work in progress. Our partnership is long-term and the investment is long-term. So we are here to stay".