Finnair CEO Topi Manner will end his nearly five-year tenure at the helm of the airline to lead Finnish telecom and digital services company Elisa.

Manner will continue in his role until a successor is named or March 1, 2024, whichever comes first, Finnair said Friday. The airline has begun the search for a new CEO, it added.

Finnair CEO Topi Manner. (Finnair)

Manner took the helm of Finnair in 2019 and led it through, first, the Covid-19 pandemic that shut many of its main markets in Asia to international travel. Then, second, he faced the closure of Russian airspace that drastically altered where and how the airline could fly. Despite these challenges, it is widely agreed that Finnair is succeeding at restructuring its business; the carrier posted a €66 million ($72 million) operating profit and 8.8% operating margin in the second quarter.

Part of Finnair’s transformation includes pivoting away from some its bread-and-butter routes to Asia, and adding new flights to North America, India, and the Middle East. The airline has forged a new partnership with Qatar Airways, as well.

“Topi Manner has done a stellar job with his team in leading Finnair through the double crises of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of Russian airspace,” said Sanna Suvanto-Harsaae, the chair of Finnair board of directors. “Finnair has emerged from the double crises as a strong airline, as witnessed by our [second quarter] financial performance.”

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Tags: airlines, finnair