Swissair Chief Katz Steps Down

Wednesday, July 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) — Jeffrey G. Katz stepped down as chief executive of SwissAir on Wednesday to become president and chief executive of Orbitz, a travel Web site being launched this summer by five major airlines.

Katz, 45, will also be chairman of the board of directors at Orbitz.

SAirGroup, the parent company of SwissAir, said CEO Philippe Bruggisser will serve as interim chief executive of its flagship airline.

Katz, an American, was the first non-Swiss citizen to head Swissair. The airline chose Katz, a former executive with AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, in an effort to become more competitive internationally.

Katz's new role puts him in a position to compete with an organization he once oversaw.

Before arriving at SwissAir, Katz was president of AMR's computerized reservation unit, Sabre. The unit was spun off in March as a stand-alone company, Sabre Inc., whose technology underpins the travel reservation system of a major Orbitz rival,

Orbitz, which was founded by Delta Air Lines Inc., UAL Corp., Northwest Airlines Corp., Continental Airlines Inc. and AMR Corp., will offer consumers a chance to buy plane tickets and reserve hotel rooms, car rentals and cruises.