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Finnair chief resigns to head Cargotec

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HELSINKI (AP) — Finnair CEO Mika Vehvilainen has announced he will step down on Feb. 28 to head the international cargo handling company Cargotec.

The Finnish carrier said Monday that during Vehvilainen's three-year tenure he had been a leader of change who helped make the struggling airline "viable in the face of the aviation industry's transformation."

Finnair, which has been battling falling demand and fierce competition, made a record third-quarter net profit of €51 million after years of losses. In October, it announced a plan to save €140 million ($180 million) by 2014.

Vehvilainen's predecessor resigned in 2010 in what he called "crisis conditions" as pilots and personnel staged strikes amid cutbacks and layoffs.

Last year, Finnair PLC and FlyBe formed a joint venture after buying Finnish Commuter Airlines.

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