Amadeus IT Holding Seeks Airline Executives to Strengthen Board

Amadeus IT Holding SA, a Spanish operator of airline bookings systems, said it needs to add senior airline executives to its board as Air France-KLM Group SA and Deutsche Lufthansa AG reduce their stakes.

“We need to decide on the board how we manage this balance,” Chief Executive Officer Luis Maroto said in an interview in Barcelona today. “In the past, airlines were managing the whole direction. Now we have private equity and more independent board members, who are very good, but they are not industry experts.”

The company would benefit from the addition of former chief executives officers who understand the industry and maintain good contacts with company executives, Maroto said. Such deepening of ties doesn’t mean that Amadeus is looking for more investments by airlines, he said, adding that “I don’t think it makes sense for an airline to own a technology company.”

Lufthansa sold shares in Amadeus yesterday. Air France has reduced its stake this year, and International Consolidated Airlines Group SA’s Iberia has hedged against share declines. Amadeus, which is seeking to deliver more booking services for hotels and railways to reduce its dependence on airline traffic, has gained more than 50 percent this year, making it the third-best performer in Spain’s 35-stock IBEX Index and giving the company a market value of 8.44 billion euros.

While Spain’s economic crisis means bookings in the country have decreased 25 percent, the company hasn’t suffered any surprises during the current quarter and will “do fine” this year, Maroto said.

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