FRANKFURT Nov 29 (Reuters) - German airline Lufthansa's search for a new chief executive is likely to last into next year, but should be completed before March, three people familiar with the company's plans said.
CEO Christoph Franz is set to leave Europe's biggest airline when his contract runs out at the end of May to join Swiss drugmaker Roche as board chairman.
Lufthansa Chairman Wolfgang Mayrhuber said on Thursday that the supervisory board would not be able to make a decision on Franz's successor at its meeting next week as it was still evaluating possible external candidates in addition to internal ones.
The next scheduled meeting of the supervisory board, which appoints key executives including the CEO, is not until March, but the three people said the board could gather before then to deal with the matter.
A spokesman for Lufthansa said: "We are not in a hurry. We are executing a professional process to find the best candidate." (Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach and Frank Siebelt; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)