Former US Airways Group Inc. president and chief executive David N. Siegel was named chairman and chief executive of Gate Gourmet Group Inc., a Zurich-based airline food catering business, company executives announced yesterday.

Siegel, 42, succeeds retiring chief executive Henning Boysen, 58, and outgoing chairman James G. Coulter, who will remain a non-executive member of Gate Gourmet's board, the company said. Gate Gourmet, one of the world's largest airline food service companies, provides 195 million meals each year, the company said.

Siegel "brings a unique customer perspective, a broad understanding of the airline business and a proven track record of success," Coulter said in a statement.

Siegel's salary was not disclosed.

Gate Gourmet serves most of the major carriers, including United, Delta, Continental, British Airways and Air France, said spokeswoman Connie Voigt. The company also supplies some meals to US Airways, but the Arlington-based airline is not one of its "top 10 customers," Voigt said.

In recent years, airlines have been cutting meals to reduce costs. Gate Gourmet's revenue dropped last year to $1.85 billion, from $2.26 billion in 2002, Voigt said.

Privately held Gate Gourmet was acquired in December 2002 by Texas Pacific Group, the Fort Worth-based private equity firm led by Siegel's longtime friend, financier David Bonderman.

Texas Pacific helped Continental Airlines emerge from bankruptcy in 1993 when Siegel was an executive at the carrier. Siegel sought the company's assistance when US Airways filed for bankruptcy in late 2002, but Retirement Systems of Alabama beat out Texas Pacific to become lead investor.

Siegel was head of US Airways for two years before resigning this April under pressure from the company's top management, including Chairman David G. Bronner, who also heads Retirement Systems of Alabama.