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May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe’s second-biggest airline, promoted two executives to its top management body to succeed Stefan Lauer, the head of passenger operations outside its main brand, who will leave in mid-2013.

Bettina Volkens, head of human resources, will assume group personnel responsibilities that Lauer also held and join the management board, while Harry Hohmeister, now chief of the Swiss International brand, will oversee airline and logistics operations that include the Austrian division, Cologne, Germany-based Lufthansa said today in a statement.

The move comes as Chief Executive Officer Christoph Franz tries to push through the airline’s most ambitious efficiency push ever, aiming for 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) operating profit by 2015. Employee relations and the company’s flying units outside Germany have come under scrutiny following strikes at the Lufthansa brand and the failure of some acquisitions, such as Austrian Airlines, to generate profit.

The promotions “enhance the company’s fitness for the future from a management perspective,” Supervisory Board Chairman Juergen Weber said in the statement.

The supervisory board is also seeking a successor to Weber after former CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber dropped his candidacy today following criticism from shareholders. Investors are scheduled tomorrow to vote on two board seats, including Weber’s, at the annual meeting.

Traded German companies’ oversight is split between the management board, which includes the top executives who run day-to-day policy, and the supervisory board, who represent shareholders and employees and must approve strategic decisions. The addition of Volkens and Hohmeister expands Lufthansa’s management board to five members from four. Lauer is scheduled to leave the company on June 30, Lufthansa said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at

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