“This early decision lays the groundwork for a smooth leadership transition at the top of the Alliance`s management company”, said Calin Rovinescu, Chairman of the Chief Executive Board. “Mark Schwab led the Alliance through an important period. After more than a decade of adding new member airlines in significant and strategic markets around the globe, the focus of the Alliance has shifted to a closer integration of customer-facing services, systems and processes.
“I am truly honoured,” said Jeffrey Goh.” I would like to thank the Chief Executive Board for their confidence in me. It is critical that we not only deliver greater value to our member airlines but also strive constantly to improve and innovate in the interests of over 600 million customers who fly with Star Alliance member airlines every year. I look forward to carrying on the great work of my predecessors and cooperating closely with our members to ensure that we remain the leading global airline alliance.”
Goh is currently Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Star Alliance. He’s been with Star Alliance since 2007, having previously worked with International Air Transport Association (IATA) and prior to that practiced and taught law.
He was also my boss when I worked for Star Alliance, giving me a particularly prescient ability to comment on this appointment and how it might affect the organization.
Star Alliance is a “brand and project management company which coordinates the activities of the world’s largest and most experienced airline alliance.” Like the late colonial period, the three empires (Star Alliance, oneworld, and Skyteam) have essentially carved up the world and so the organization is no longer in a conquering phase but in a management phase.
And just as colonial protectorates could be quite bellicose, navigating the minefield of politics and money surrounding member carriers takes someone with very particular skill and ability. I believe Goh is that person.
Goh is a deeply intellectual man with great business sense and wit. He takes his position so seriously that when he is not on the road you can often catch him in the office before anyone else or leaving after everyone has gone home.
He has cultivated strategic partnerships and helped to assuage differences among Member Carriers that have led to innovation and greater cooperation.
And for me personally, he has been a good mentor, always making time for me despite his busy schedule (even years after leaving the company) and helping me to become a better lawyer while I was with the company by entrusting me with much responsibility.
Is the public going to see big changes? Doubtful, and that is good news — life is good right now for Star Alliance customers and the carriers who actually make the decisions seems content with the status quo. Nevertheless, Goh is a visionary so if something revolutionary did happen, that would also not surprise me.