The new chief executive of SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, is a 46 year old insurance executive who, only a decade ago, was stationed in Stamford, CT, as a vice president at GE Capital. Rickard Gustafson, who is married and has two children, launched his professional career with Andersen Consulting, later GE Capital after graduating as an industrial economy engineer from Linköping University in Sweden.

Currently the CEO of Codan/Trygg-Hansa, Sweden, Gustafson was portrayed by the SAS board as being the right person to take on the airline's challenges and to continue the implementing the Core SAS strategy to ensure profitable growth. SAS shares saw a modest upswing when the news was announced last week in Stockholm.

"SAS is a special and unique Scandinavian company. A great deal has been accomplished in recent years to create a platform for the future. I look forward to developing the company further, together with all employees at SAS," said Gustafson.

"Rickard Gustafson is an experienced leader, with extensive international experience, who has demonstrated that he can generate good results," commented Fritz Schur, Chairman of the Board of SAS. The current President and CEO, Mats Jansson, who leaves SAS this autumn, will be replaced by Gustafson not later than next spring. Until then, the Deputy CEO, John Dueholm, will be acting President and CEO.