Dear Fritz Joussen, dear Mrs. Joussen, dear family of Fritz,
Dear Sebastian Ebel,
And above all: dear guests,
I am delighted that so many of you have accepted our invitation this evening and welcome you very warmly - personally and on behalf of the entire Supervisory Board.
First of all, my thanks to Wybcke Meier, the entire TUI Cruises team and, of course, to Captain Per Hard and the crew for allowing us to come together here on the Mein Schiff 3.
But I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to my predecessor in the office of Chairman of the Supervisory Board, welcome dear Klaus Mangold, and to Fritz Joussen's predecessor, welcome dear Dr. Frenzel.
This ship is the first new ship that TUI Cruises has developed - and it is the first ship in the TUI Cruises fleet that Mr. Joussen was able to help christen in 2014 at the beginning of his time at TUI.
So the venue is particularly fitting for the changeover on the TUI bridge.
Tonight we are saying goodbye to Fritz Joussen, who has maneuvered the Group through calm seas for almost ten years, but also through many storms. In the process, he often ventured into uncharted waters. Full speed ahead - but always with a clear compass.
The cruise segment is a good symbol of how much TUI has changed under Fritz Joussen's leadership. At the beginning of his time, TUI Cruises had a fleet of two second-hand ships - today the fleet is one of the most modern in the world. In total, TUI's cruise fleet today consists of 16 ships.
The cruise segment's contribution to revenue and profit has also grown steadily until Corona.
Within ten years, TUI has tapped into a segment with enormous growth potential - and has become one of the leading cruise providers in Europe.
The same was achieved with the Hotels and Resorts segment, which was massively expanded and is now the second growth pillar of the Group. Since Fritz Joussen joined TUI, TUI has almost doubled the number of its hotels, to over 400 today.
Both areas are part of the profitable transformation that has succeeded under his leadership. And this in close cooperation with Sebastian Ebel, his successor. Vision, strategy and implementation from a single source - that was a success story for the past decade and ensures continuity in "Aufbruch 2022" - post-Corona and with Sebastian Ebel as TUI's new captain.
Where the change is probably most visible is in the digitalisation of the Group. Here, Fritz, you have set clear accents and massively driven the change. "Leadership is about people and about change" - that is your premise. And you follow this path unwaveringly with the team when you are convinced of a topic. This also applied to the digitization of TUI. For example, TUI Musement was created in just a few years as one of the world's leading digital platforms for activities and excursions. The digitization of a far-flung group is and remains a mammoth task - and it will remain at the top of TUI's agenda in the future as Sebastian now takes the helm.
Ladies and gentlemen, in 2013, many observers had not thought it would be possible that TUI could transform itself so successfully. When you took over, Fritz, TUI was considered by many to be a candidate for failure. "Reverse take-over" was one command. Investors and the public jumped on the opinion of spin doctors who came around the corner with it. Fritz Joussen was a very good chess player in his youth. The more agitated things get around him, the calmer, more concentrated and more focused he becomes - that's how he acts and leads. That was the case in the run-up to the merger at the end of 2014 and just as later during the Corona pandemic. In both cases, it was all or nothing.
After the successful takeover of the British TUI Travel, TUI AG grew steadily in operational terms every year until the pandemic hit. A real success story. The year 2020 was well on its way to becoming the best in the company's history.
Then came the pandemic of the century, turning TUI into a company without a business overnight. The pandemic turned all of our lives upside down in very many areas. But hardly any other industry was affected as severely as tourism.
Our sector thrives on people coming together, crossing borders, discovering new things and expanding their horizons. So when 'stay at home' suddenly became the top priority, tourism had a problem - a pretty serious one. Stagnation, through no fault of its own - due to the virus and government regulation. It was threatening and put existence in question.
TUI, the healthy global market leader, had suddenly become a company that could not have survived without government support.
Fritz Joussen and his team successfully led the Group through this period of existential crisis and rescued TUI, also with the help of the German government. And it was not a given at the beginning that this would succeed. But we had the right CEO on board, to also get us through this phase of deep depression.
Two outstanding qualities - I believe - helped in particular:
Fritz is an optimist. Not by pretense, but by conviction. Even when all the TUI planes were grounded, the ships were doged in the harbor, and all our hotels had their doors closed, he had a positive vision - not only for the sector, but also for the Group and especially the employees.
And he can inspire people with ideas and take them with him. For all employees, the time of the pandemic was an absolutely exceptional situation, which was naturally also determined by personal fears and doubts. What do they tell their family, friends, customers and business partners? I know from many conversations how important it was to have a clear view of the future: communicating goals, forming strong teams, delegating responsibility and then taking everyone along with you - that's what strong leadership is all about.
This does not mean glossing over things. It means a clear course out of the crisis, focus, and an ambitious but realistic vision for getting back on the road to success. Comprehensive and openly communicated.
Dear Fritz, this was one of the reasons why your decision to leave TUI saddened your TUI colleagues. And I too would have been happy to work with you for another three years. Nevertheless, I also understand that after two such immensely intensive years, it is probably the right time for something new. On behalf of the entire Supervisory Board and all employees, I would like to thank you very much for your commitment to TUI.
Just like the Corona rescue, the merger and the successful transformation will remain permanently associated with you. A fully integrated global market leader was created from a management holding company. That remains your achievement.
We wish you and you, dear Ms. Joussen, all the very best for the future. I am sure that you will remain very closely associated with TUI in the future.
As of October 1, Sebastian will take over the helm. Dear Sebastian, a good start to you - even if it is familiar territory.
Sebastian Ebel knows the sector and the Group better than anyone else - and of course he was involved in all the key decisions of the past decade as part of Fritz Joussen's Board of Management team. Dear Sebastian, that applies to the merger as well as to the rescue during Corona. But also during the turnaround early on from 2013 and during the transformation from a retailer and traditional tour operator to a hotel, cruise and experience group. When a difficult mission was at hand, Sebastian Ebel came into play: versatile in various positions and equally experienced and successful as a striker and defender.
Sebastian Ebel enjoys an excellent reputation among employees as well as partners from all areas of the sector.
From day one, he can therefore work at full speed to lead TUI back to its old successes. The existential crisis is over and TUI is saved. Dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic is not yet complete. Sebastian Ebel and the team will still have a lot to do in the near future. But I am sure: it will succeed and Sebastian will not only dedicate himself to these challenges, but will define new goals and head for them.
Dear Sebastian, I am very happy that we can now not only continue the cooperation of the last years, but intensify it even more.
All the best for your new task and only the best of success! The company deserves it. And I know you are burning for TUI and for this task. You want to shape things. Now is your time, with your team.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our future CFO Mathias Kiep. To you, too, dear Mr. Kiep, all the best for the start - you know the company and the team and you want success.
Before we give the floor straight away to Fritz Joussen and, of course, Sebastian Ebel, I would like to hand over to the Chairman of our Central Works Council and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Frank Jakobi.
From my side, dear guests, once again a very warm welcome. I look forward to a pleasant and relaxed evening with you!
Thank you very much - and I would now like to hand over to Mr. Jakobi.