Air France-KLM appoints temporary president to a former French employment minister

Anne-Marie Couderc will have non-executive powers

The board of directors of the Franco-Dutch company Air France-KLM, in the middle of a crisis after the resignation of its former president, Jean-Marc Janaillac, has appointed the former French employment minister Anne-Marie Couderc as “non-executive” and transitory president of the company.

Couderc, whose mandate should be “as short as possible”, will be supported by a school management committee waiting for the final substitute of Janaillac to be appointed, which will have to deal with the departure of the airline crisis, the group explained. it’s a statement.

The current president of Air France-KLM resigned last 7th after the majority of employees opposed an internal referendum on his proposed salary revaluation.

The company raised to Air France workers a wage increase of 2% this year and an additional 5% stepwise from 2019 to 2021, linked to a growth plan, in an attempt to stop the strike, after more than 15 days of stoppages called by the inter-union, with a cost of 375 million euros for the French airline.

More than half the staff of the staff, with 55.4% of the votes against, rejected said proposal in an ‘online’ consultation organized by the company in which more than 80% of the workers of the group participated, which employs to 52,000 workers. De Janaillac promised to resign if the ‘no’ was the winner.

From now on, Anne-Marie Couderc will play a limited role and the daily management of the two main airlines of the Air France and KLM group will continue to fall to their CEOs.

This establishes a steering committee composed of three members: the financial director of Air France-KLM, Frédéric Gagey, who will act as CEO of the group, the CEO of Air France Franck Terner and the CEO of KLM, Pieter Elbers.

The decisions of the steering committee will be taken collectively by its three members. The role of the latter will be to supervise the functions of the group and coordinate strategic matters between the group and its airlines.

“The Board of Directors has full confidence in the ability of the Steering Committee and the Executive Committee of the Group to manage the group’s activities during this transition period, and for my part, I will pay special attention to strengthening the group’s cohesion throughout of this period, “said the new transitional president of the Anne-Marie Couderc group.

POSTPONED NEGOTIATIONS

Thus, the team of Couderc, who was minister of the first Government of Jacques Chirac between 1995 and 1997, will make strategic decisions, but not related to the labor dispute that caused the departure of his predecessor. Negotiations with the unions are postponed until the appointment of a new definitive address, which may be delayed for several months.

It remains to be seen if a transitional solution will prevent the resumption of strikes at Air France, as the unions that make up the inter-union – composed of the unions of pilots, cabin crew (TCP) and ground staff – do not give up to its claim of a 3.8% rise in cumulative inflation between 2012 and 2017 and an increase of 1.3% in October to equal the inflation estimated for 2018. Negotiations between the parties are now frozen.

The members of the Board of Directors of Air France-KLM have shown their “deep regret” over the strikes that affected customers in recent weeks and warned that these strikes “will have a negative impact” on the group’s financial results.

FRANCE WILL NOT COME TO THE RESCUE

The Government of France has shown its concern about the future of the former Gallic airline, which holds 14% of the capital, and has warned that it will not come to the rescue while urging the parties to negotiate . The chairman and CEO of KLM, Pieter Elbers, pointed out that the separation of both airlines “is not an option”.

The group’s latest strategic plans focused on the restructuring of the short-distance network, the development of the low-cost business (Transavia) and the creation of the airline ‘Joon’; The next step would be to decide whether or not to start a low-cost long distance activity like other groups.

In the first quarter, Air France-KLM registered some ‘red numbers’ of 269 million euros, 88% more than in the same period of 2017, weighed down by strikes on the French airline. By companies, the gross profit before exploitation (Ebitda) of Air France was 621 million euros, 4.2% less, while KLM obtained an Ebitda of 313 million euros, 47 million euros more than in the three first months of 2017.