Chile’s LATAM Airlines Group has announced longtime CEO Enrique Cueto will step down March 31, 2020, to be replaced by current chief commercial officer (CCO) Roberto Alvo.

“We’ve made this announcement at a time of solidity and stability for the company. Today, we offer unrivaled connectivity in the region and with the world,” LATAM Airlines Group president Ignacio Cueto said in a statement. “We are one of the world’s most punctual airlines, we offer a service that is recognized by millions of our customers and we have considerably strengthened our financial position.”

The announcement comes after a planned succession process that began in 2018 and considered both internal and external candidates. In appointing Alvo, LATAM’s board took into consideration his 18 years of experience at the company serving in roles overseeing finance, fleet, planning and commercial operations.

“We are confident that with Roberto’s leadership and extensive knowledge we will reach new heights, maintaining the preference of over 70 million passengers that fly with us each year and helping us to become one of the world’s most admired airlines,” the LATAM Group president added.

LATAM reported a net loss of $63 million in the 2019 second quarter, a significant narrowing of the $208 million net loss LATAM recorded in QQ 2018. The group—which has subsidiaries in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru—has been buffeted in recent years by currency weakness across South America and the ongoing financial crisis in Argentina.

Ben Goldstein, ben.goldstein@aviationweek.com