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Having spent four years in media relations and corporate communications for Deutsche Bank, Andreas Bartels was familiar with the pressure of being responsible for the reputation of one of Germany’s largest and most respected companies before he joined national airline Lufthansa as head of communications in 2007. But nothing could have prepared him for the crisis that struck when a pilot for low-cost Lufthansa brand Germanwings flew his plane into side of a mountain in March of 2015. Bartels was at the right hand of Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr during the aftermath of the crisis, reaching out to victims’ families, taking a progressive attitude towards regulatory and safety changes, and protecting the company’s reputation.
More recently, the company has, like other airlines, had the challenge of rebuilding after the pandemic. Bartels and his team are also kept busy managing communications around everything from new freight fleet rollouts, to Lufthansa extending its global footprint by taking a 41% stake in Italy’s ITA Airways, the successor company to insolvent flag carrier Alitalia, to defending its advertising in an industry where the focus is firmly on sustainability: a recent campaign claiming that its green initiatives were protecting the world has been banned by the UK advertising watchdog the ASA, which ruled it was misleading consumers over the environmental impact of flying.
Bartels was previously press spokesman at Niedersächsischer Sparkassen-und Giroverband, the Lower Saxony Savings Bank association, and subsequently at Comdirekt bank before moving to Deutsche Bank in 2002, serving as director and head of press and media relations in the private and business clients division.
What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Sustainability and ESG.
What have you most admired about the communications industry over the past year, and what has disappointed you?
The power to influence and the missing power to influence.
What work from your team are you most proud of over the past year?
The introduction of the new Boeing 787.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
The Pioneer podcast.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
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