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Current as of 03/09/15 07:40PM NZST

Kiwi joins Air NZ from Unilever

By Owen Hembry

Christopher Luxon. Photo / Supplied
Christopher Luxon. Photo / Supplied

Air New Zealand has appointed well-travelled Kiwi businessman Christopher Luxon to head up its international airline.

Luxon, 40, takes over from Ed Sims as group general manager for international from May 30 and joins the NZX-listed carrier from consumer goods giant Unilever.

Luxon joined Unilever in 1993 after completing a master of commerce at the University of Canterbury and since December 2008 has been president and chief executive of Unilever Canada.

"In this role he was responsible for leading Unilever's US$1.4 billion business and 1500 employees in Canada," Air New Zealand said.

Advertising Age said Luxon emerged as a Unilever superstar when he led an effort to repel Procter & Gamble's expansion into Europe and Asia of Secret deodorant.

Air New Zealand's International Airline carries about 1.6 million long haul passengers annually, has annual revenue of about $1.8 billion and employs more than 3000 people.

Luxon has worked in NZ, Australia, Asia, United Kingdom, United States, and Canada and has taken a senior leadership role in growing brands globally including Dove, Rexona and Lynx.

Sims finished with Air New Zealand in December on the day the first of the airline's five new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft took off from Seattle.

He had spent the past four years leading a project in which the new aircraft would be fitted with a range of products developed by the airline, including the lie-flat Skycouch economy seat, the premier economy Spaceseat and food cooked on board.

Air New Zealand's International Airline carried a third of all inbound visitors to New Zealand.

Shares in the 74.7 per cent Government-owned airline closed unchanged yesterday at $1.12.

- NZ Herald

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