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Finnair hires Nordea banking executive as new boss

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Finland's national airline Finnair has turned to the financial world for its new chief executive, appointing Nordea Bank's Topi Manner to take the role from January.

[HELSINKI] Finland's national airline Finnair has turned to the financial world for its new chief executive, appointing Nordea Bank's Topi Manner to take the role from January.

Manner, 44, currently works as the head of personal banking at the Nordic region's biggest bank and he will succeed departing Finnair boss Pekka Vauramo.

"Topi Manner has extensive experience in both private and corporate customer business, and he has played a strong role in the digital transformation and customer service development of his bank," Finnair Chairman Jouko Karvinen said in a statement.

Vauramo, Finnair CEO since 2013, is joining engineering company Metso in November.

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He is credited with returning the airline, majority owned by the state, to profit growth on the back of cost cuts and an increased focus on passengers flying between Europe and Asia.

Finnair's shares were down 0.13 per cent by 0825 GMT.

The airline suffered a setback in July when it warned that a substantial increase in fuel prices would weight on profits in the second half of the year.

Inderes analyst Antti Viljakainen told Reuters he did not anticipate major changes to Finnair's strategy under the new management.

"It could have been someone with experience on Asian business but then again he (Topi Manner) has a strong background in consumer and corporate customer businesses," Viljakainen said.

"Chairman Karvinen highlighted (Manner's) experience in people-centric leadership. It is of the utmost importance at Finnair, to be able to balance between the personnel groups and the owners," said Viljakainen, who has an "accumulate" rating on the stock.

In January, Finnair's board member in charge of management compensation issues had to quit after the board approved a supplementary pension arrangement for Vauramo, against the state's recommendations.

REUTERS