Topi Manner Leaves Finnair: The Man Who Led It Out of Crisis

Topi Manner Leaves Finnair: The Man Who Led It Out of Crisis
Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

In the last few hours, Finnair has announced the departure of CEO Topi Manner from March 1, 2024. Let’s take a look at how he kept the Helsinki-based carrier on its feet in difficult times.

According to the airline’s statement, Manner will be joining the Elisa Corporation as their new CEO.

The airline also confirmed that the search for his successor starts today.

Remarks Regarding Topi Manner’s Departure from Finnair…

Topi Manner Leaves Finnair: The Man Who Led It Out of Crisis
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Commenting first on the departure of Topi Manner was Finnair’s Chair of the Board of Directors Sanna Suvanto-Harsaae:

“Topi Manner has done a stellar job with his team in leading Finnair through the double crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of Russian airspace.”

“I want to thank Topi warmly for his leadership during the past, very difficult years. Finnair has emerged from the double crises as a strong airline, as witnessed by our Q2 financial performance”.

“The Finnair team has shown their ability to adapt and transform, and we are in an excellent position to continue to connect Asia, Europe and North America. I wish Topi the best of success in his new chapter.”

Manner also added some of his remarks to his departure:


“My time at Finnair has been characterised by the exceptional crises we faced. This has been the ultimate stress test for the entire Finnair team.”

“I am extremely proud of the way our organisation has responded, adapted, and succeeded. It has been an honour to be a part of this team effort and feel the Finnair spirit”.

“When I move to my new challenge, I will take many learnings with me. Finnair will always remain important for me.”

“Meanwhile, I am committed to continue to lead Finnair with my strong team for the rest of my time with this excellent company.”

Looking Back at His Legacy…

Topi Manner Leaves Finnair: The Man Who Led It Out of Crisis
Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource

Topi Manner began his time with Helsinki-based carrier Finnair back in January 2019 as their President and CEO.

At that time, things were calm. The airline industry was in a form of positive boom, and things were going well.

It wasn’t until 12 months later where Manner had to deal with a major problem: And that was the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like with all airlines, measures had to be taken, and Manner was at the centre of that decision-making, trying to make the most sufficient decisions for the airline’s longevity.

Then, just as restrictions were lifting, and demand was coming back, he had another crisis to deal with: the war in Ukraine.

Finnair had to make tough decisions when Russia closed off its airspace to the world, including the axing of 150 jobs because of this, as it was costing them too much money.

Despite this, however, Finnair under the guidance of Topi Manner tried to make the most out of the airspace closures in Russia.

This included for the first time in 30 years, flying over the North Pole to reach destinations in Asia and the Far East.

All of this caused heavy losses. However, Manner has been able to turn things around financially for the carrier.

In its recent half-year results, they recorded an operation result of 74.1m EUR, which was a major improvement from the loss of 257.8m EUR recorded in the period previous.


Photo Credit: Arash Abed/AviationSource

Looking ahead, Topi Manner will be missed as the Finnair CEO when he leaves in March 2024.

He has managed to bring the Helsinki-based carrier through a very turbulent time for the carrier, and has come out and produced strong operating results.

It hasn’t been an easy tenure for him, but those at the airline will be grateful for his efforts, and his decisions will keep the airline going, not just in the short-term, but in what is expected to be a prosperous post-pandemic long-term future ahead.

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By James Field - Editor in Chief 5 Min Read
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