FRANKFURT Deutsche Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), Germany's largest airline, will appoint management board member Carsten Spohr, currently in charge of its passenger airline business, as chief executive officer, a German newspaper reported on Friday.
Citing company sources, German tabloid Bild reported an "internal" decision had been made in favor of Spohr and that the company's supervisory board would rubber-stamp the appointment at a meeting in March.
A spokesman for Lufthansa denied that a decision had been made and said the company is under no time pressure, given that current CEO Christoph Franz is under contract until May 31.
"There is currently no decision regarding a successor for Christoph Franz," he said on Friday.
Under Germany's two-tier board structure for listed companies, top managers are appointed by the non-executive supervisory board.
Franz is set to leave the German carrier when his contract expires at the end of May to join Swiss drugmaker Roche ROG.VX as board chairman.
German media have highlighted several Lufthansa veterans as possible candidates to succeed Franz, including Spohr and fellow management board member Harry Hohmeister, Lufthansa Cargo divisional head Karl Ulrich Garnadt and catering unit LSG's chief Walter Gehl.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Christian Ruettger; Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and David Goodman)