Finnair says 'cannot confirm rumours' CEO stepping down

Shares in Finnair tumbled on Tuesday following a report that its chief executive was stepping down, prompting the company to issue a statement saying it was unable to confirm what it called "rumours."

Business magazine Talouselaemae said Finnair chief executive Mika Vehvilaeinen was leaving the company, which has been cutting costs as it faces growing competition from low cost carriers.

"Mikka Vehvilaeinen, soon 52, will take the post of Cargotec's new chief executive," it wrote, without citing any sources.

It said the current head of the cargo handling equipment group had been moved to Singapore.

In a statement, the Finnish airline said Vehvilaeinen "has not resigned from his position."

"Finnair cannot confirm the rumours presented by Talouselaemae magazine on its Internet pages," it said.

Like its troubled Scandinavian rival SAS, Finnair has struggled to turn a profit in recent years. Vehvilaeinen took the helm in November 2009 and was tasked with returning the company to profit.

After two years in the red, Finnair posted a 10.6 million ($14.1 million) profit in the first nine months of 2012.

Shares in the company were down by as much as seven percent in Tuesday trading on the Helsinki bourse, but pared some of their losses and closed 2.68 percent lower, in a market that was down 0.56 percent.

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