Air France-KLM has announced a transitional governance structure after its chief executive Jean-Marc Janaillac resigned following a pay reform he proposed, in a bid to end a series of strikes, was rejected by unions.
With immediate effect, Anne-Marie Couderc will act as non-executive chair, chief financial officer Frédéric Gagey will step in as CEO, while the deputy chief executives of Air France and KLM, respectively Franck Terner and Pieter Elbers, will serve as Gagey’s deputies.
Concerning the chief executive’s departure, the company said: “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.”
So far this year, there have been 15 days of strike action, resulting in losses for the group of €400m. The French government, which owns a 14.3% stake, has said it would not provide any bailout.
The company also said in its statement that it wanted to express its “deep regret” over the series of strikes and confirmed that they would have an impact on the group’s financial results.
The transitional governance has been set up “for the shortest possible period required to effectively complete the succession process”, the company said. It confirmed that it has already submitted recommendations to the board, adding that the transitional structure does not “presuppose” future governance.
During the transitional phase, the trio will continue work on the company’s medium-term strategic plan. Concerning the pay dispute, the company said that the Air France chief executive does not have a mandate to “take decisions that would jeopardise the growth strategy approved by the Air France-KLM Board of Directors”.