Tui boss Joussen resigns

Fritz Joussen

Fritz Joussen resigns as head of the Tui travel group. Photo: Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

He rebuilt Tui and was instrumental in saving the travel group from collapse in the Corona crisis. Business is now recovering – and Fritz Joussen is leaving prematurely.

After a decade at the world’s largest travel agency Tui, CEO Fritz Joussen surprisingly resigned. The manager will resign on September 30th, the company from Hanover announced. The successor is to be the previous CFO Sebastian Ebel. Joussen’s contract would have actually run until September 2025.

Under the manager’s leadership, Tui has undergone a profound transformation. The Corona crisis also fell during his tenure, during which the company struggled to survive and was supported with billions of dollars in the state. It was initially unclear what the Duisburg native would do after his time as Tui boss.

From Vodafone to Tui

The qualified electrical engineer was head of the Germany division of the telecommunications group Vodafone for years, joined Tui in 2012 and became CEO the following year. Even then, Tui had his back to the wall financially. When Joussen took over the management of the company, he had to reorganize the finances.

At the end of 2014, the merger with the tour operator subsidiary Tui Travel, which was previously listed in London, enabled savings, investments and a reorganization of the business with a focus on hotels and cruises. The manager also pushed digitization forward.

Existential crisis caused by Corona

The pandemic eventually plunged the entire industry into a deep crisis. “The survival of the Tui was in question for many,” wrote Joussen in a letter to his employees. In 2020 and 2021, the federal government supported the group with over one billion euros via the Economic Stabilization Fund.

In the meantime, the group is gradually melting away the aid and focusing on the joy of traveling in summer. In May, Joussen promised that Tui would be profitable again in this financial year – which ends on the day he left – at least in day-to-day business.

In the employee letter, Joussen referred above all to the rescue of the company in the Corona crisis. “The decision is not easy for me,” wrote the 59-year-old. But he is convinced that now is the right time for a change at the top. The existential crisis has been overcome. According to Tui, Joussen exercises a “right to lay down” that was granted in connection with the conditions of the corona stabilization measures.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board Dieter Zetsche thanked the manager: “Restructuring, digital transformation and rescuing Tui in the Corona crisis are Fritz Joussen’s lasting achievements.” The previous CFO Ebel is an excellent choice for the new start. For years he was responsible for hotels and cruises, among other things. “Strengthening the balance sheet and profitable growth are his focus,” said former Daimler driver Zetsche. The new head of finance is to be the previous head of controlling and former investment banker Mathias Kiep.