After 14 years as chairman of the board for Lufthansa Technik, August Henningsen is retiring. The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary and Henningsen has been at the helm for the majority of those years.
In their first fiscal year, 65 percent of their revenues came from parent company business with Lufthansa. By 2014 this figure dropped to 38 percent and sales revenues have more than tripled to €4.3 billion. Henningsen oversaw worldwide expansion and acquisitions and now LHT ha≠s facilities in Shannon, Budapest, Sofia, Malta, Beijing and Tulsa. A new facility in Puerto Rico will open this year. In 1995 there were 10,337 employees and today there are more than 26,000 people worldwide. Described as a “typical pragmatic northern German,” Henningsen took the company on an upward trajectory, molding it into the world’s leading MRO provider. We sat down to talk with Henningsen one last time to get his thoughts about his tenure with the company and where it is headed.
AM: What is your education and work background? How did you come to be employed at Lufthansa Technik?
Henningsen: Well I am an aviation engineer. I studied aerodynamic flight, mechanical structures – all the basic stuff. Then I worked in the DLR, the German NASA so to speak for one year. Then there was a job availability for Lufthansa. It was a technical division and they were looking for someone with a background in aeronautics for incident analyzation and support between flight operations and Technik. This is what I did. And at the same time flight system engineer for DC-10 and 747 flight controls. I was also in line maintenance and became the section manager in the flight controls group, which was very interesting, During the time of control loss for the A320 and so on and so on during the 80s. Then I took over the whole engineering department and was in base maintenance so when the wall came down, the former Interflug technical base, due to the bankruptcy of Interflug, they had technicians – good technicians – and they needed jobs so at that time the big German companies requested to do something on the other side for our new brothers and sisters so we decided to shift the 737 from Hamburg to Berlin. I was manager of that company and developed 737 base maintenance in East Berlin. Very exciting job and from the personal viewpoint it was rewarding. Then for two to three years I ran the component business, integrated the materials planning, materials management, purchasing, engineering and production side into one product, more or less. After that I was in Beijing, China for three years as general manager of AMECO. Then came back and became member of the board of Lufthansa Technik responsible for production and services and then half a year later became chairman of the board.
AM: After your retirement, will you continue to support LHT in some way? As a consultant or in any capacity?
Henningsen: Yes, in the supervisory board but not decided yet.