24 Mar 2022

Tui names next legal leader as it refocuses on growth following heavy pandemic losses

Dr Nina Scherf's arrival at tourism giant coincides with issuing of sanctions against major shareholder, Russian billionaire Alexey Mordashov

Dr Nina Scherf Image courtesy of Tui

Tui, the world’s largest tourism company, has named the former chief legal counsel for German industrial technology group GEA as its next legal leader.

Dr Nina Scherf will begin as the Hanover-based company’s chief legal counsel on 1 April and succeeds Dr Hilka Schneider, who left Tui at the start of the year to be general counsel for chemicals manufacturer Akzo Nobel in Amsterdam.

Her arrival comes at a challenging time for Tui, which is looking to return to growth after the Covid-19 pandemic but must also now handle any fallout from the issuing of sanctions by the EU against Russian billionaire Alexey Mordashov, who holds around a third of its share capital. 

Scherf, who has a doctorate in corporate law, joined GEA in 2005 as legal counsel after stints as an associate in the Frankfurt office of German law firm Hengeler Mueller and as a foreign associate at Mayer Brown in New York. From 2012 she served as GEA’s chief legal officer and chief compliance officer before leaving the company in 2020, after which she has worked as a freelance lawyer, according to her LinkedIn profile.

At Tui, which has dual stock market listings in Frankfurt and London, Scherf will be responsible for the company’s legal and compliance function as well as the board office and will be a member of the group executive committee. The company described her as an expert in ‘all relevant legal areas such as corporate, capital markets and commercial law, cross-border mergers & acquisitions, board office and compliance.’

Fritz Joussen, Tui CEO, commented: “I am very pleased that Nina Scherf, with her extensive experience, wants to actively shape Tui's future. With her international team, she will be an important advisor and strategic partner for the Group and its subsidiaries on our joint course for growth and the future."

Scherf joins Tui as the company moves to return to profitability after the pandemic saw it shift from reporting a profit of €893.5 in 2019 to losses of billions of euros in 2020 and 2021. In February the company reported that revenue for Q1 2022 was five times higher than in the same period the previous year, rising from €468m to €2.37bn. Q1 2022 also saw 2.3m people travel with the company, more than four times the number that did in the same period in 2021.

Earlier this month, Tui annouonced that Mordashov had resigned from its supervisory board as a result of the sanctions. 'The EU sanctions relate to Mr Mordashov as a person, not to TUI AG, in which he is a shareholder,' TUI said in a statement on 2 March. 'In this respect, these sanctions against the shareholder have no impact on the company in which he holds shares. The operative business of TUI is managed by the executive Board, as is the case with any German public limited company.'

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