- From 1 January 2023, Executive Board members Dr Ingo Burmester (CEO Central Europe), Leif Vase Larsen (CEO International) and Boris Schnabel (CFO Group) will form the new operational leadership team for Europe’s second largest tourism group
- Newly appointed Executive Board to report to Lionel Souque, CEO REWE Group, after Sören Hartmann, CEO DER Touristik Group leaves the company at the end of year
- International and integrated: Joint group strategy will drive cross-regional collaboration and focus on customer-centricity, digital convenience, and product exclusivity
Frankfurt/Cologne, 21 September 2022. DER Touristik Group, the second largest travel group in Europe, announced its new leadership structure and joint group strategy for future growth today. As the travel and tourism sector’s recovery picks up speed, the time has come for DER Touristik to leverage the strength of its international group across 16 markets. This will include the reorganisation of the Group’s International Management Board to assure a smooth transition after Sören Hartmann, the CEO of DER Touristik Group, leaves the company at the end of year. The new management structure will sharpen the Group’s focus on operational priorities and enhance cross-regional collaboration.
As announced in March, Sören Hartmann will turn over responsibility for the tourism business to Lionel Souque, the CEO of the REWE Group, end of year and then continue to serve the company in an advisory role. From 1 January 2023, the newly created Executive Board consisting of three of DER Touristik’s most experienced top managers – Dr Ingo Burmester, Leif Vase Larsen and Boris Schnabel – will report directly to Lionel Souque. DER Touristik’s new Executive Board will assure strong operational leadership of the Group’s source markets and divisions, including key growth areas such as the destination management network and hotel business:
Dr Ingo Burmester, the CEO of Central Europe, will continue to lead the region of Germany, Austria and Switzerland and oversee the Group’s hotel business. He will also oversee Group Brand Management, Group Corporate Communications and Group Corporate Responsibility.
Leif Vase Larsen, who will remain CEO of Northern Europe, will become CEO International. In this function, he will bundle the international business, including the French, UK, Nordic, Benelux and fast-growing Eastern European markets. He will also oversee the Destination Management Companies (DMCs), Digital Transformation and IT.
Boris Schnabel, the CFO of DER Touristik Group, will oversee a range of corporate functions: Besides Group Finance and Reporting, Treasury, Risk Management, Compliance and Legal, he will assume responsibility for Corporate Strategy and Group Human Resources.
The newly appointed Executive Board will work closely with the Extended Executive Board consisting of Joao Gonzaga (Chief Digital Officer), Jiří Jelínek (CEO Eastern Europe), Dr Klaus-Ulrich Sperl (CEO DMC), Georg Schmickler (CEO Hotel Division) and Stephanie Wulf (Chief HR Officer Group) – all members of the former International Management Board.
Lionel Souque, the CEO of the REWE Group, said: “Sören Hartmann has driven the international growth of DER Touristik with tireless commitment and outstanding performance. Under his far-sighted navigation, the Group became one of the leading travel and tourism companies in Europe. With the latest acquisitions in rapidly growing Eastern European markets and the vastly expanding hotel business, he once more demonstrated his ambition and dedication to the sustainable growth of our tourism business. I want to thank him for his outstanding work over the last decade. It lays the foundation for our future success and allows DER Touristik to move one step farther as one strong group.”
Congratulating the members of the new DER Touristik Executive Board, he added: “I’m looking forward to taking on the responsibility for our travel and tourism business as an important pillar of our REWE Group’s core business and embarking together with the newly appointed Executive Board on this journey towards future growth. Today’s tourism market requires fast responses to disruptions, as the flight situation showed once more this summer. I’m confident that with this team of driven and highly experienced top managers we will be able to quickly anticipate trends and be extremely well connected on the operational level. This will be the key to our future resilience and growth.”
Sören Hartmann, the CEO of DER Touristik Group, stressed: “I am proud of the international growth we accomplished as a team and grateful for the opportunity to work with extraordinary people at DER Touristik who showed their outstanding commitment throughout the pandemic. Now that the time has come for me to pass the baton, I want to congratulate the new Executive Board members who will successfully lead the company towards further internationalisation and integration.”
Joint group strategy to focus on customer-centricity, digital convenience, and product exclusivity
Using the power of the entire Group, DER Touristik is planning to strengthen its market presence across source markets and destinations while creating strong synergies on the operational level – from purchasing to digitalisation. As the newly appointed members of the Executive Board, Dr Ingo Burmester, Leif Vase Larsen and Boris Schnabel will drive a joint Group strategy that puts customer-centricity, digital convenience, and product exclusivity at the heart of the business.
Leif Vase Larsen, CEO International, said: “Customer-centricity, product development and digitalisation are closely interwoven today. The prioritisation of our digital transformation agenda will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs and become a leading travel company that puts travellers’ needs first – from inspiration and booking to the travel experience at the destination.”
To leverage the full power of our group, the strategy includes a stronger presence of the Group’s corporate identity. Dr Ingo Burmester, the CEO of Central Europe, said: “As we are claiming our leading role in the future travel industry, we also want our corporate identity to reflect our international scale and become more visible to travellers, partners and employees around the globe. Building one strong corporate culture will be fundamental to this process.”
Moving jointly in the same direction – with one strategic core and stronger global visibility – will also require defined guiding principles and a corporate culture that attracts international talent. Boris Schnabel, CFO Group, said: “Our Group strategy will guide our direction and define our joint targets for future growth and profitability. While the three strategic pillars customer-centricity, digital convenience and product exclusivity unite all regions, we will leave space for local and business- specific needs – allowing all markets and divisions to realise their full potential.” And he added: “Our success will heavily depend on the loyalty, commitment and passion of our employees who have brought us where we are today. Future growth will be possible only if we can use the power of the Group to attract and train international talent.”
Further information on the members of the Executive Board:
Dr Ingo Burmester (56) studied chemistry and economics. He completed his studies in mechanical engineering with a doctorate in 1997. Ingo Burmester started his career as a consultant for ATKearney and later began his management career at the TUI Group. His positions at TUI Deutschland included head of flight, club programmes and capacity management and management of TUIfly Vermarktungs GmbH. Ingo Burmester then spent six years as CEO of Robinson Club. From 2017, the engineer and tourism expert worked for Thomas Cook, where he was initially Managing Director of Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts before being appointed Managing Director of Thomas Cook UK & Ireland. In May 2019, Ingo Burmester joined DER Touristik as CEO of DER Touristik Central Europe and a member of the International Management Board. From 1 January 2023, he will be a member of DER Touristik’s Executive Board as CEO Central Europe. Ingo Burmester is German and lives in Hannover.
Leif Vase Larsen (59) earned a bachelor’s degree from CBS in Copenhagen and an MBA from Stockholm University. After completing a trainee programme at AP Moller Maersk, Leif Vase Larsen pursued a career in finance, the shipping sector and business travel before joining Kuoni in 1999 as CFO for the Nordic Region. In 2006, he was appointed CEO of Kuoni Nordic and became responsible for the sports resort Playitas and Kuoni Russia in 2007. In 2009, he was appointed to the Executive Board at Kuoni and assumed responsibility for Northern Europe. His role was extended to include all European tour operators at Kuoni in 2011. Leif Vase Larsen joined the DER Touristik Group in 2015 and, as CEO of Northern Europe, became a member of the International Management Board the same year. From 1 January 2023, he will serve on the Executive Board and assume the role of CEO International. Leif Vase Larsen is Danish and lives with his family in Copenhagen.
Boris Schnabel (52) started his career in the Corporate Finance department at KPMG International after earning an MBA. He then assumed financial responsibility as CFO for the start-up Webfair AG before joining the Metro Group, where he was initially Head of Strategic Business Development. He later held various management positions, both nationally and internationally, including Regional Financial Officer CEE. In 2012, Boris Schnabel became CFO of Metro Cash & Carry and CEO of Metro Cash & Carry International Holding, Vienna. In October 2016, Boris Schnabel was appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of DER Touristik Group by the Management Board of the REWE Group and became a member of DER Touristik’s International Management Board. From 1 January 2023, he will be a member of DER Touristik’s new Executive Board as CFO Group. Boris Schnabel is German and lives with his family in Vienna.
t: +49 69 9588-8000
DER Touristik Group has its head office in Cologne, Germany, and is REWE Group’s travel and tourism division. As one of Europe’s leading travel groups, DER Touristik Group encompasses more than 130 companies and employs more than 8,000 people in 16 European countries. Every year, millions of guests travel with one of the group’s tour operators or specialists. DER Touristik Group includes tour operators such as DERTOUR, Jahn Reisen, ITS, Meiers Weltreisen, Travelix, Kuoni, Helvetic Tours, ITS Coop Travel, Billa Reisen, Koning Aap, Apollo, Exim Tours and Fischer, as well as more than 2,300 travel agencies (such as DERTOUR, DERPART, Kuoni, Exim, and Fischer, as well as franchises and partners), the hotel brands Sentido, Aldiana, Calimera and COOEE, and the online travel agency Prijsvrij Vakanties. The DER Touristik Group also offers on-site support: The company runs an agency network with 74 offices in 29 travel destinations. The staff in the destination agencies assist the guests of the DER Touristik Group from their arrival at their holiday destination and until their departure. For more information, go to www.dertouristik.com.