Aer Lingus is set to scale back U.S.-Ireland flightsSteve Parsons/PA


Irish airline Aer Lingus has named German Christoph Mueller as its new chief executive to take post on October 1.

After a three-month long search for a new CEO after the resignation of Dermot Mannion, Mueller comes as a surprise external appointment for the Irish company. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power placed their odds on Brian Dunne, chief financial officer of Ace Financial Holdings, and Aer Lingus’ chief financial officer Sean Coyle.

Mueller, 47, is the former Aviation Director at international leisure travel group TUI Travel. He’s also held high ranking positions with Daimler Benz Aerospace, Deutsche Lufthansa, the Sabena Group, DHL and Deutsche Post AG.

Mueller enters the position at a crucial time for Aer Lingus, which has faced mounting losses during the deepening recession. Investors still await the company’s announcement of its new strategy to reduce expenditure and restructure the airline.

"He has some stellar names on his CV", said analyst Neil Glynn at brokerage NCB. "From that point of view it looks like a good appointment ... Clearly the bigger issue is the extent of restructuring that needs to happen."

Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington said in a statement: "Christoph has the experience and the skill-set to lead the Aer Lingus team through what is an unprecedented operating environment and to make the changes that are required at Aer Lingus.”