Dr Babett Stapel, Managing Director of Fraport Slovenija, receives Artemida award for 2022
Zg. Brnik, 26. 1. 2023 - The Managers’ Association of Slovenia presented the Artemida award to the Managing Director of Fraport Slovenija, Dr Babett Stapel. That association presents the aforementioned award to female managers who have broken the glass ceiling and assumed the leading management position at an organisation.
Dr Babett Stapel assumed the role of Managing Director of Fraport Slovenija, which manages and operates Ljubljana Airport, in July 2021. She joined the company in 2016, and has worked in the aviation sector for more than twenty years. She gained extensive experience in airport management while working abroad, at Lima Airport Partners S.r.l. in Lima, Peru and at Fraport Twin Star Airport Management AD in Varna, Bulgaria. Today, she is employed at Fraport AG’s Slovenian subsidiary as Managing Director. In this role she is responsible for more than 400 employees; Operations, Administration (IT, Procurement), Accounting & Finance, Planning & Controlling, Human Resources, Integrated Governance System, Commercial & Real Estate, Airline Management, Legal, Internal Audit, and Corporate Communications are directly reporting to her.
Dr Stapel’s career is characterised by two turning points that paved her way to the top position at the aforementioned company and the prestigious Artemida award. The first turning point was in 2001 when she left her legal career behind to become responsible for managing strategic and commercial topics. The second turning point was in 2011 when she left the German headquarter to work for Fraport AG’s Latin-American subsidiary in Peru. The latter marked her entry into boards of directors and management positions, and the internalisation of her life and work.
Airport traffic has doubled following the pandemic under Dr Stapel’s leadership
The last three years have been exceptionally difficult for Fraport Slovenija. At the end of 2019, the company faced the bankruptcy of Slovenia’s hub airline, its largest business partner, which at the time accounted for half of air traffic. That was also the last ‘regular’ year for the airline industry, before the pandemic brought the world to a hold. Despite the negative factors, airport traffic increased by more than 120% in 2022 compared to the previous year under her leadership, and the company achieved positive results, even if State aid is not considered.
Managing an airport was a long-standing ambition of Dr Stapel. Assuming leadership of a company in an industry that is still dominated by men represents an additional challenge for her, while she believes that it is diversity that makes a company successful. Most important for her in terms of leadership is involving and engaging co-workers in decision-making processes, creating an environment that motivates and inspires employees, goal orientation and providing a sense of purpose for every employee.
“I am grateful and proud of this award, which I understand as recognition of my entire team of co-workers. Any CEO needs smart, driven and passionate professionals to be successful. This award promotes and recognizes female careers and I hope that it inspires women to become CEOs. It fosters appreciation of the difference that men and women are bringing to the table. It is diversity that makes a company strong. This award motivates me to reconfirm my commitment to ensure that Ljubljana Airport recovers and develops to become the “airport of choice” for the region. We will play our role as infrastructure and service providers well,” said Dr Babett Stapel upon the receipt of the award.
Outlook on 2023
“From the corporate perspective, we are planning to make a big step further on our road to recovery, i.e. get significantly closer to 2019 traffic and financial results. As an infrastructure provider, we will add this year to our total investment of 67 M EUR in the period 2014-2022 approx. 13 M EUR. As a service provider, the recruitment of about 70 passenger and ramp handling staff, which include 30 seasonal employees, is in full swing in order to be ready to handle this year’s anticipated traffic increase of ca. 25%. Additionally, we will continue putting a strong focus on staff matters to improve working conditions. From the airport perspective, our major goal remains to increase connectivity, i.e. adding additional frequencies and destinations. In order to achieve this, we will work strongly together with the Slovene State and air carriers because the improvement of connectivity is a demand driven decision taken by the carriers and hence needs to be incentivized and supported by all involved players. Additionally, we will continue establishing Ljubljana Airport together with our tour operators as a reginal charter hub,” added Dr Stapel on 2023 plans.
About the Artemida award
The Mangers’ Association of Slovenia presents the Artemida award to women who have broken the glass ceiling and assumed the leading management position (director, managing director or president of the management board) at companies and other organisations with more than 50 employees. They must be in that position for at least 12 months, and the company that they manage must generate positive operating results. The presentation of this award is another in a series of steps that the association has been taking for years to improve the gender balance in the highest corporate positions.