Finnair prepares for growth and plans an organisational renewal


Finnair is accelerating its growth and is therefore planning an organisational renewal as of 1 March 2016 in line with its growth strategy. 

After multi-year savings programmes, the company is now preparing for growth on the back of its new A350 aircraft. The new era requires an organisation which enables growth in the optimal manner. The company is heading for the right direction, and it is now seeking the agility needed to take advantage of growth opportunities. 

“We have worked hard in recent years to improve our competitiveness, and the year 2015 proved that we are clearly on the right track. We are heading for the right direction, and now our aim is to gain speed and capability to grasp new business opportunities. We want to ensure that we create an organisation which enables, and accelerates, the generation of growth. Growth requires resources and sharper focus in some areas,” emphasises Pekka Vauramo, Finnair CEO.

“We now want to place the customer experience even more prominently in the core in our operations. This is key in our growth strategy. Our business environment is in a continuous state of transformation, and therefore we must be proactive in order to respond swiftly to adaptation needs,” Vauramo states. “Our objective is to offer the customer a unique Nordic experience and a more extensive and competitive network than before. While doing so, we need to ensure that we further develop our operational reliability, which is already world-class.” 

Finnair’s new organisation is anticipated to take effect on 1 March 2016. The announced organisational renewal plans will require consultation of employee representatives in accordance with the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings. The organisation would consist of the following units:

– Customer Experience, which will be led by Piia Karhu, b. 1976. Ms Karhu has a doctoral degree in business administration and she has held various leadership positions at Finnair since 2013, most recently in charge of network planning and business development.

– Strategy and Resource Management, which will be led by Ville Iho. Mr Iho was previously in charge of the Operations unit. He is also Finnair’s Deputy CEO.

– Operations, whose leader will be appointed later. For time being Ville Iho will lead the Operations unit.

– Commercial, which will continue to be led by Juha Järvinen.

– Digitalisation, led by a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Finnair has appointed M.Sc. (Tech), eMBA, Katri Harra-Salonen as CDO, effective 21 March 2016. Ms Harra-Salonen, b. 1969, has conducted a long career in digital transformation positions. Since 2012, she has been a founder and the       CEO of Umbrella Strategic Advisory Ltd. Previously, she has been the CEO of Fjord Sweden in Stockholm and held leadership positions at Satama Interactive in Finland and Sweden. Finnair’s IT organisation, which continues to be led by Kari Saarikoski, will report to the CDO.

– Human Resources, Finance and Control, Legal Affairs as well as Communications, Corporate Responsibility and Public Relations will primarily remain intact, and their leaders and reporting lines will remain unaffected. However, these units will be also developed to support growth and Finnair’s business. 

“Our plan is now to expand the Executive Board and lower the span of control,” states Pekka Vauramo. “By doing so, we seek to ensure quick and coordinated decision making, since growth requires timely exploitation of business opportunities, and seamless cooperation.”

As of 1 March 2016, Finnair’s Executive Board will consist of the following persons: Pekka Vauramo (President and Chief Executive Officer); Eija Hakakari (SVP Human Resources); Ville Iho (SVP Strategy and Resource Management, Deputy CEO); Juha Järvinen (Chief Commercial Officer); Piia Karhu (SVP Customer Experience); Sami Sarelius (SVP and General Counsel); Arja Suominen (SVP Corporate Communications and Corporate Responsibility); Pekka Vähähyyppä (Chief Financial Officer).

The appointed CDO Katri Harra-Salonen will join Finnair Executive Board on 21 March 2016. In addition, the future head of Operations will also join the Executive Board.

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