Alitalia picks Ducati head as new CEO

MILAN, April 18 Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:17am EDT

MILAN, April 18 (Reuters) - Italian airline Alitalia has appointed Gabriele del Torchio, head of Italian motorcycle maker Ducati, as its new chief executive, the company said on Thursday.

Del Torchio, known as a turnaround expert, has been assigned all operational responsibilities, it said in a statement.

He will replace Andrea Ragnetti, who quit after only a year in the job in February after the struggling airline company posted a 2012 net loss of 280 million euros ($365 million) which had deepened from 69 million euros in 2011.

Alitalia, which is 25 percent owned by Air France-KLM , suffered last year from a drop in demand for air travel amid the euro zone debt crisis and recession in Italy.

The airline said a shareholders' meeting will take place on April 29.

Alitalia was rescued from bankruptcy in 2008, when it was bought by a consortium of Italian companies including Intesa Sanpaolo, road operator Atlantia and IMMSI , which also controls scooter maker Piaggio.

Air France-KLM, which has held its stake in Alitalia since January 2009, has said it will probably wait until at least 2014 before using an option to take control of the airline.

($1 = 0.7668 euros) (Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)