“Overcoming Adversity to Rise Above“
Lufthansa Technik Philippines’ President and CEO Elmar Lutter surpasses expectations through his immaculate leadership.
COVID-19 has evidently jolted an unprecedented impact of devastating severity on businesses, but the aviation industry has remained one of the hardest-hit industries from the very start of the crisis when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus outbreak as a global pandemic. Despite global vaccination efforts, the path to recovery and return to normalcy for the aviation industry is still a long road ahead.
Given the current economic climate, Elmar Lutter, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP), has demonstrated impeccable resilience in his leadership while persevering through the unchanging vision of the company, that is to become the top maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service provider in Asia as part of the Lufthansa Technik group.
Equipped with an electrical and electronic engineering background, Elmar subsequently furthered his education with a business administration degree and an MBA during the early days of his illustrious aviation career. As a tenured head honcho of the Lufthansa Technik Group, Elmar has seen the leading MRO service provider through its disruptive growth for over 30 years, with roles in Germany, Hungary, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.
A strong intuition is the foundation of Elmar’s inclusive leadership approach, and his journey to the top also bears resemblance to his own father’s, who had maintained a strong work ethos and picked up management while moving up the ranks from apprentice to General Manager. He also draws inspiration from people who have achieved greatness against all odds, under the unlikeliest of circumstances.
In addition, Elmar attributes his exemplary stewardship to the 5 Lufthansa leadership principles: Drive the business; create spirit; lead change; foster talent; and master complexity. He also believes in honouring commitments, paying attention to detail, thinking ahead, persevering, and treating others as equals.
At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Hamburg-born Elmar had been thrusted into maneuvering LTP through a time of extreme uncertainty on an arduous road to survival while countering the repercussions the pandemic had brought onto the business. Despite the lack of a blueprint to navigate an adversity of this scale, Elmar triumphed in achieving complete organizational agility.
All Elmar’s recovery action plans honours 3 conditions: cash flow, alignment, and impartiality. Firstly, meticulous assessments are made on the short- and long-term implications of LTP’s depleting cash flow to secure a longer-lasting dispersion. Meanwhile, Elmar safeguards LTP’s alignment to the policies of the Lufthansa Technik brand and champions transparency to mitigate bias when arriving at these decisions.
Elmar and his team has had to study internal synergies, prioritise projects, and identify new business opportunities to adapt, dynamically taking action towards LTP’s preparedness for the future. Numerous measures have subsequently been integrated to keep LTP afloat, and apart from cost reduction and operational optimization strategies to minimise losses, Elmar strictly emphasizes the welfare of its 2800-strong workforce.
Under Elmar’s able leadership, workforce attrition has been capped to 20% even though business has slowed down by more than half. Elmar has also been able to foster a strong sense of loyalty and community within LTP by keeping the lines of communication increasingly accessible for employees and keeping them involved with key developments.
He further cushioned the blow of the pandemic through the provision of essentials for its employees. Amongst the other programs and policies implemented are an in-house app for internal communication, a hotline service for support, and an abundance of learning and development programs focused on technical skills, leadership, lean management, safety management, and talent management. While it was a sizable expense, these programs were shifted online via a learning management system (LMS) to upskill LTP’s workforce digitally.
“ Elmar Lutter has remained undeterred by the daunting task of navigating Lufthansa Technik Philippines through the setbacks brought about by COVID-19. In spite of the onerous undertaking beset with challenges, his commendable leadership has catalysed a well-fortified and inspiring response to the impacts of the crisis while staying laser-focused on safeguarding the welfare of his employees and reinforcing a strong sense of community.”
Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group