Peter Ulber will become the new chief executive officer of Panalpina June 1, replacing Monika Ribar, who will focus on non-executive managerial roles, according to a company press release.
Ribar has served as CEO for the past seven years and worked in Panalpina's management structure for nearly 23 years.
"Monika Ribar deserves high praise for the secure legacy she will leave at Panalpina," Panalpina's board chairman, Rudolf W. Hug, said in a statement. “She has guided the enterprise through one of the most difficult phases of its recent history and successfully geared it towards the new challenges.”
Ulber worked in various management roles at Kuehne + Nagel for 26 years, serving on the management board for his final three years with the company. While at K+N, he covered Europe, North America and South American and worked in both sea and air freight. He founded his own business, Charleston Enterprise Group, in 2011.
“We feel fortunate that we could attract one of the globally most respected freight forwarding experts and entrepreneurs and secure his services as CEO of Panalpina,” Hug said. “His entrepreneurial track record is impressive and we are convinced that he will succeed in further expanding Panalpina’s position in the world markets.”
Last month, Panalpina officials reported what they called "disappointing" results for 2012. Profit remained flat year over year, and while ocean freight activity improved by 6 percent over 2011's results, profitability declined by 1 percent. Gross profit in air freight declined by 9 percent, year over year.
At the time, Ribar said officials were analyzing Panalpina's customer portfolio in air freight and would work on gaining more momentum from positive ocean freight numbers.
“Our 2012 results are unsatisfactory,” Ribar said in a statement. “We did not manage to compensate for the setback in air freight. In ocean freight and logistics, we considerably expanded our business despite a slowing market growth, but it was simply not sufficient. On the cost side, we did not react fast enough.”
Ribar added Panalpina had already introduced a number of cost-saving measures and that the firm was focusing on growing the logistics arm of the business. - Jon Ross