Bombardier snares Lufthansa’s Nico Buchholz

Bombardier scored a major executive coup with the appointment of Nico Buchholz as Chief of Procurement for the entire company.

Nico Buchholz, the new Head of Procurement for Bombardier. Photo via Google images.

Buchholz was  ‎Executive VP Group Fleet Management for Lufthansa Airlines and Group, with various fleet management titles, since 2001. He previously was an executive at Airbus.

Buchholz was the launch customer for the CSeries, placing an order in 2009 for 30+30 CS100s and CS300s. Lufthansa Group’s Swiss International Airlines subsidiary will become the first operator when the deliveries begin next year. While the Middle Eastern airlines get the headlines for being launch customers for the Boeing 777X, in fact it was Buchholz who bought the airplane for Lufthansa, which is the first 777-9 customer.

Buchholz is a major “get” for Bombardier.

Here is the press release.


26 Comments on “Bombardier snares Lufthansa’s Nico Buchholz

  1. “Buchholz is a major “get” for Bombardier.”

    Ever since the arrival of Alain Bellemare, Bombardier has been putting in place, relatively rapidly, a formidable team. That, combined with a no less formidable aircraft, makes me believe that they will succeed despite the current challenges:

    1. High debt load.
    2. Low cash flow.
    3. Slow selling C Series (12 months without a single sale).
    4. Major delay with biggest cash cow: Global 7000/8000.
    5. Monumental flop: Learjet 85
    6. David against A&B Goliath.

    In addition to that we also have to take into consideration other challenges with current low oil prices and shaky world economy. What could help Bombardier though are the low interest rates. But unfortunately they can’t really take advantage of that because they have been downgraded below junk bound status. So though times are laying ahead but they have the right people to rise to the challenge.

    “Today, no leader can afford to be indifferent to the challenge of engaging employees in the work of creating the future. Engagement may have been optional in the past, but it’s pretty much the whole game today.”

    Gary Hamel (no kinship)

      • Yes with the USD at 1.32 it certainly helps since the aircraft are sold in USD. But the problem is that they don’t sell too many aircraft theses days. The Global is for BBD what the 777 is for Boeing: The Cash Cow; but it is more than two years late. And they have not sold a single C Series in the past twelve months. The CRJ is on the artificial respirator. The Q400 has been obliterated by the competition. The Learjet is now a cute little has-been. Thank God they sell a few trains once in a while! Which brings me to the sad reality that they may have to part with that division in order to pay their debts and fund the modernization of their oldest designs, like the CRJ and Q400 for example; and extract the full potential of the extraordinary C Series; i.e., the CS500/700/900.

        • “Yes with the USD at 1.32 it certainly helps since the aircraft are sold in USD. But the problem is that they don’t sell too many aircraft theses days. ”

          While they get a deposit when orders are placed, BBD gets the bulk of the payment on delivery and they are still delivering a lot of planes with even more when CSeries is certified. Bizjets are the cash cow and they still have a 36 month backlog. Learjet and Q400s were never huge sellers but the lines are still producing at a steady rate. The full impact of the currency rates will not kick in until the hedges expire which could be any time now. Q3 and Q4 historically have been cash positive however no one cares about profits. They are all looking at the cash burn rate.

          • “They are all looking at the cash burn rate.”

            While they look at the cash burn rate I look at the order burn rate: the so-called book to bill ratio.

          • They have to look at their turbo prop lineup as well. I know a local airline here that runs 23 Q300s but swapped over to ATR when it bought 17 of the 70 seaters.
            This is just crazy, not to have an equivalent 70+ seater and somehow expect the hot rod Q400 to be the answer for the normal shorter routes.

  2. FlightGlobal has a story on this here:

    I found the last line to be very interesting: “The first 110-seat CS100 is scheduled for delivery to Swiss in early 2016, or shortly after it receives type certification by the end of this year.”

    It appears they are leaving open the possibility of advancing EIA into 2015. Perhaps we shall get more details at the CSeries demo and update in Toronto Thurs.

    • I can only surmise that the letter “S” stands right beside the letter “A” on your keyboard, correct? 😉

    • In 2016 , airlines will listen fast enough for Swiss customers about their experiences, the sense of comfort of a jumbo jet, the novelty, the delicate noise, the luggage space; finally some justifications why they wish to travel with a CSeries thus create an infatuation, and a race to the production niche! The more the better !

    • Interesting that flightglobal is the only one to claim he was let go by Lufthansa last week. All other articles, both in english and german, say Bombardier hired him away. Also, why would they let him go after 14 years of service? If they thought he wasn’t doing the job properly anymore, wouldn’t they just move him to another post?
      Lastly, why wasn’t his being let go covered or announced?

      Either flightglobal has some unique, and for Bombardier, potentially embarrassing info, or they got it wrong with that assertion.

      Wonder which it is.

      • I asked Nico about the Flight Global article. He said he resigned, moving seamlessly to BBD.


  3. “Buchholz the is a major “get “for bombardier”
    Has he got a big pile of money he can lend them? Government help required here I’m afraid.Traditionally this would include the RAF buying plane’s it doesn’t really want.For once this would actually be quite a nice plane for them to have,but unfortunately Bae systems has already snaffled up more money than the Mod has for years ahead.

  4. Nico at the 747-8 rollout, something like, success has many fathers, congratulations to the Boeing team, to the LH team, who had to convince sometimes the Boeing team what was right. 🙂

  5. A management expert affirms this every day : it is people that make the difference. The acquisition of this talented manager shows, again, how Bombardier is currently building a great small business. So far, what strikes the mind is the amazing creation of long- term economic potential that emerges from the all -star team of managers ! Imagine the sense of that call : do you want to make history with us ? This is where you need to be right now !

    • I suppose if Bombardier must crow about something, it might as well be management quality.

      It surely isn’t sales, orders, or balance sheet strength.

  6. I am personally acquainted with Herr Buchholz, from my Airbus time. Nico’s career success centres on a rare ability to let believe he’s active whereas in reality he’s idle in his office. He’s also good at managing meetings, letting pass around the consensus that he’s in charge of the meeting, but whether the meeting is productive is another question. Where he clearly failed to make use of his power and entregent as Fleet Strategist for DLH is when he turned H21QR in derision : he simply didn’t understand the HQR Series concept, pushing Airbus to put a legal stopper on TwinAisleFeeders. Of course, Airbus let me swim, H2XQR Series as an Option has played a potent A32X NEO sales stimulator ! I see Nico rather as an ironball presently chained to Bombardier’s leg, it is fortunate he’ll be confined to Aquisitions, where he can’t make too much damage ?! My pronostic : the Stock Exchange will mitigate the info about Nico joining the Bombardier team, giving him a cool welcome, if not rightout a cold shower ?!

      • “Quite the post… Straight out of Dilbert.”

        At least Dilbert is funny. But I found that post disgusting. A textbook example of the insidious personal attack genre. Pure mongering. If not outright calumny.

        • I think that by the sound of things Scott has already checked this situation out.There are plenty of managers who are as the post describes,maybe it’s just fair comment.On the other hand you should never be nasty on the web unless you are absolutely certain of your targets mental state.I don’t understand the HQR concept either.

          • Scott has indirectly allowed a man under vicious attack to defend himself. At least partially. But he shouldn’t have had to. What I like about this blog is that personal attacks between members are not tolerated. Wether attacks directed to people on the outside should be tolerated here is not for me to decide. But my personal ethics dictates me that it is inappropriate to do so under any circumstances. Even in a private setting.

          • The problem is you never know a personal attack from the truth (and managers have been given the chance to quit before they were axed)

            On the other hand if I am remembering this write (pun), the H2Xr cubed concept is Frequent Travelers baby that is even better than sliced bread, just awesome. Visions of an axe being ground on a course grinding wheel.

            Unfortunately for FT no one believes it and he takes it personal

            Sort of the perpetual motion thing. Something for nothing.

            Ahh well, a prophet ahead of his time, someday I am sure he will be vindicated.

  7. @ transworld : angels’ song to my ears … but where he is now, Nico wouldn’t appreciate the appearance on the market of neither H19QR NEO (direct competitot to CS-100) nor H20QR NEO (direct competitor to CS-300). The mirage of these two hypothetic fully family-related (maintenance, training, spares) companions to the classic A319 (3+3) has slowed down the C Series order intake for Pierre Baudoin … even as a bluff, H2XQR is a success ? But Paper Tigers do not make the cash register ting-a-ling. Nico should have preferred the HQR alternative over C-Series for Lufthansa Group, that would have made him a Star in the community of Fleet Planners !

  8. I wish Herr Buchholz all the best with his new, challenging and interesting assignment, congratulating Alain for having picked a buyer insider for Procurement, the other side of the coin … flipping it, the chances are Nico will contribute his experience and ironcast loyalty to Bombardier Group’s prosperity, which is well deserved, given their unfailing attachment to Innovation.

    For the rest, sorry, I’m off this thread !

  9. I wonder what is the connection, if any, between Buchholz’s appointment and the following news, dated May 18, 2015, which annonces that Bombardier “has hired procurement expert Jean-Paul Pellissier as a special advisor to conduct an extensive review of the company’s supply chain. Mr. Pellissier is an industry veteran with 25 years of experience at Dassault Aviation, most recently as Senior Vice President responsible for procurement. His focus will be to improve sourcing processes and supply chain efficiency.”

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