Cargo airline Amerijet and CEO Tim Strauss divorce after 1 year

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(Updated September 14, 2021 at 8:55 a.m. with details of the author of the departure)

All-cargo airline Amerijet International bluntly announced on Monday that former CEO and current executive chairman Vic Karjian will replace interim CEO Tim Strauss, effective Saturday, as it seeks a new CEO just a year after Strauss took office.

The Miami-based airline, which is owned by New York-based private equity firm ZS Fund, has not given a reason for the surprise change, but an industry source closely related to the company said it s was the result of a power struggle. .

Karjian appeared unable to move away from day-to-day control and was encroaching on Strauss’s area of ​​responsibility, the source said. As executive chairman, Karjian was expected to focus on strategic planning, key partnerships and growth goals.

“It’s not clear if there was something the investment firm didn’t like or if Vic was trying to control decisions,” said the individual, who asked not to be named due ongoing relationships with society. Strauss rebuffed Karjian’s meddling, resulting in a heated exchange that led to Strauss’ immediate departure, the source said.

Another source familiar with the situation said Strauss had left his post. He will remain with the company as an advisor until the end of the year. Amerijet spokeswoman Christine Richard confirmed Strauss’s resignation.

Two weeks ago, he was leading Amerijet’s delegation to meetings with key customers at the Cargo Network Services conference in Miami, said another person who attended the event.

The divorce is ironic given that Strauss joined Amerijet for the opportunity to further mark an organization by applying the lessons of a long career.

As a freight manager at a passenger airline, “you represent 2% to 4% of the company’s revenue, so you don’t always have the ability to pull the trigger on decisions that you make. you would like to take and push the business where you want to go, even though our growth was very rapid. We increased by 80% during my time at Air Canada, but you still don’t have your hands on the controls, ”he said during the Cargo Masterminds podcast produced by STAT Media Group.

Revenue at the top comes from chief operating officer Brian Beach, who was previously scheduled to leave the company this month, according to the source.

Repeated messages left for Amerijet spokesperson Christine Richards were not returned. Other efforts to reach Amerijet were unsuccessful.

Strauss is a respected air cargo veteran who served as Vice President of Cargo at Air Canada (OTCUS: AC) for several years before succeeding Karjian in August 2020. He previously held senior positions at Delta Cargo (Northwest Airlines). before the takeover of Delta), Hawaiian Airlines Cargo and freight operator Emery Worldwide.

Those familiar with Amerijet have been impressed with Strauss’s work so far. He bolstered the airline’s cargo fleet, won a contract to take over the piloting of five aircraft for DHL Express, contributed to the company’s revenue growth, implemented new IT projects and made plans. to expand to more European destinations and possibly long-haul operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

The airline currently uses around 16 aircraft, up from 10 at the start of the year, including 14 Boeing 767 freighter and two Airbus A321, according to Airfleets.net and company officials. The A321 is operated for Amerijet on lease by Titan Airways in the UK. Strauss said the company expects to have 20 devices by the end of 2021, with 25 to 27 devices in the fleet by the end of 2022.

Strauss also recruited new talent this year, including several former Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) professionals, and established revenue and project management offices.

Eric Wilson, the new Commercial Director, was previously General Manager of Global Freight Sales at Delta. Chris Mazzeo, a consultant with the International Air Transport Association who once headed Delta’s international cargo operations, was appointed vice president of global operations in July. Eric Anderson was appointed director of revenue and pricing management over the summer. He spent 13 years in leadership roles at Delta and most recently worked for Amazon in Tokyo. Last week, the company announced the addition of Ray Bennett as vice president of technical operations. He was previously an executive at Meggitt and spent over a decade leading maintenance at Delta.

Craig Bently was also recently appointed Vice President of Flight Operations.

In the podcast, Strauss called his vision of Amerijet a “start-up within a 44-year-old company.”

Karjian transformed Amerijet into a large regional carrier that was beginning to grow into a global supplier of air cargo, with significant expansion in long-term rental and crew outsourcing operations for airlines and other customers. The airline also provides cargo services to the US Department of Defense as part of the Civilian Reserve Air Fleet.

“We are very happy that Vic has agreed to step in as interim CEO. Managing the company since 2016, he has an intimate knowledge of the customers and the operations of the company and will ensure the continuity of the business during this interim period ”, said Bob Horne, member of the board of directors and partner of the ZS Fund, in a press release. “The company appreciates Tim’s many contributions over the past year, and we wish him well in his next chapter. The Board of Directors looks forward to working with Vic to continue the profitable growth of Amerijet as we seek our next CEO.

Amerijet began in 1974 with a chartered plane providing small freight and passenger flights between the United States and the Bahamas. Its cargo fleet now serves the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America. Last year, it started operating from its hub at Miami International Airport to Brussels Airport in Belgium after being qualified by regulators for long-haul routes. Limited business in Asia-Pacific is currently managed through partnerships with other carriers.

The company will soon be adding several used Boeing 757s to its fleet, after going through a cargo aircraft conversion program, to offer additional capacity and route options to its customers.

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