Air France-KLM have announced that three chief executive officers (CEO) will take over temporarily of the group after CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac stepped down due to the labour strike which has set the Franco-Dutch airline group about $358 million.
The airline group held its annual shareholder meeting yesterday and afterwards said chief financial officer Frederic Gagey will take over the reins as CEO and Air France CEO, Franck Terner and KLM CEO, Pieter Elbers will temporarily serve as deputy group CEOs as part of a management committee of three, with Gagey the committee’s spokesman.
Air France-KLM also named Anne-Marie Couderc as non-executive chairman of the board of directors, a former government minister and was already on Air France-KLM’s board.
The committee will make its decisions jointly, overseeing and monitoring group functions and coordinating strategic matters between the group and its airlines, which, as well as Air France and KLM, includes Transavia, HOP! And Joon.
Elbers said that the temporary appointments would give the organization order and stability and the appointments give the board time to figure out a permanent solution.
The airline group’s board said the transitional governance structure was established for “the shortest-possible period required to effectively complete the succession process for the roles vacated by Jean-Marc Janaillac.”
A statement said: “The members of the Air France-KLM Board of Directors firstly wish to express their deep regret over the successive strikes affecting Air France customers in recent weeks and disrupting their travel plans. These strikes will also have a negative impact on the Group’s financial results.
“All the members of the Board of Directors also wished to thank Jean-Marc Janaillac for his commitment to the service of the Group, and for the results achieved since taking office in 2016, which have enabled Air France-KLM’s successful turnaround and growth.
“The Board recognises Jean-Marc Janaillac’s courageous decision and sincerely hopes that it will open the way to the conditions for a transformation at Air France and fresh momentum for Air France-KLM.”
Air France-KLM said the decisions of the committee will be taken collectively by its three members. The role of the committee will be to oversee and monitor the Group functions and coordinate strategic matters between the Group and its airlines.
Couderc said: “The Board of Directors has complete faith in the ability of the Management Committee and the Group Executive Committee to manage the group’s activities during this transition period.
The Board also asks them to continue the work already under way on Air France-KLM’s medium-term strategic plan, a task which will be handed over to the Group’s future governance. For my part, I will pay particular attention to strengthening the group’s cohesion throughout this period.”
Regarding the ongoing labour dispute at Air France, the Air France-KLM board said the Air France CEO does not have a new mandate to take decisions that would “jeopardise the growth strategy” approved by the Air France-KLM’s board, adding: “The Board is aware of the difficulties currently being traversed by Air France and requested to be kept regularly informed of the company’s labour situation.”