Lufthansa says still looking for new CEO to take controls

FRANKFURT - Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline, said Friday it is still looking for a successor to outgoing chief executive Christoph Franz and no final decision has yet been made.

According to the mass-circulation daily Bild, quoting company sources, the head of the airline's passenger operations, Carsten Spohr, has been picked to take over when Franz steps down at the end of May.

The supervisory board is to rubber-stamp Spohr's nomination at a meeting in March, the newspaper reported.

But a Lufthansa spokesman insisted that "no final decision has yet been taken."

"The supervisory board is currently intensely involved in the search for a new CEO. As we have stated previously, the process is a very careful and structured one," the spokesman said.

A professional evaluation of possible candidates, both internal and external, was underway.

"The aim is to find the best possible management team for our customers, shareholders and employees," the spokesman added.

"There is no time pressure and no need for an immediate decision. Christoph Franz's contract runs until May 31 and our entire management is extremely capable," he said.

Franz, 53, announced last September that he would not be available for an extension of his contract after it expires in May.

He is moving to Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche.