Air Cargo Executive of the Year: Peter Gerber stays one move ahead

Opening moves

Peter Gerber knows a thing or two about chess gambits. As a student, he joined a chess team while he was studying law and business at university, playing in the second-highest chess “bundesliga” in Germany.

Having a background in chess can be beneficial in business, he said. “You can learn something about the difference between strategy and tactics,” he said. “And you can also see why seeing a few moves ahead can come in handy.”

In an indirect way, chess is what brought Gerber to the aviation world. “You may not believe me, but it was only a friend of mine who told me about a vacancy there at Lufthansa,” he recalled of his first days with the airline in 1992. “This friend played chess together with me on our chess team at the university, so he told me it would be a good opportunity to work with him at Lufthansa because we could also play together in the airline team. This is where it all started.”

Gerber said he had always liked the aviation business, but had no special interest in it as a career – at least initially. In between chess games at his new job in sales and marketing for Lufthansa’s passenger market, Gerber said he became fascinated by the special B2B relationship in the cargo world. “From the passenger business you only get a small glimpse of this world, so you don’t really understand what’s happening,” he said. “I’m a curious person, so I was quite interested.”

Gerber served in various departments at the carrier, including human resources, IT and industry relations, before he finally got a chance to join LH Cargo’s finance and HR department in 2009. “I didn’t have to think for long when I got an opportunity – I said yes very quickly.”

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