KLM airline personnel urged the Paris-based holding company to appoint CEO Pieter Elbers ‘unconditional’ for a new term. They started a petition on Friday to endorse Elbers. The staff is worried about a possible change in the power structure. The originators state that KLM is a ‘prosperous airline’ under Elbers, who once again plays with glory on the world stage.
This article was translated from Dutch. It was published at Telegraaf.nl by Yteke de Jong.
KLM has taken note of the action.
“We think it’s good to see that there is so much support among staff for Elbers,” said a spokesman on Saturday morning in a comment.
The airline is one of the largest private employers in the Netherlands, with over 30,000 employees.
Elbers’ contract expires in April. KLM’s Supervisory Board (SB) wants to reappoint Elbers, but this must be confirmed by the holding management on 19 February. The current KLM-boss is standing in the way of the plans of the new CEO Ben Smith of parent company Air France KLM, who has been appointed in September.
“I assume that Elbers will be just reappointed. The supervisory board may not make any other considerations. The successes of KLM confirm its position “, says chairman Rob Swankhuizen of the Dutch trade union for aviation technicians.
Chairman Annette Groeneveld of the VNC cab union stated earlier this week in De Telegraaf that ‘there is no earthly reason to not renounce Elbers’. KLM keeps the Franco-Dutch aviation combination afloat.
Smit ignored Elbers after taking office by not appointing him as the second man next to him. Furthermore, Smith does not involve Elbers in his plans for the future, because he wants to drive KLM himself.
That was clear this week at two meetings for KLM staff, in which he did not mention the performance of Elbers. Last week, the French media leaked a plan that would make Smith the KLM ‘B-brand’ of the aviation duo, which should focus on the holiday market. Smith also denied this at a staff meeting in Paris this week.
On Friday Elbers wrote a letter to the KLM staff in which he did not mention the tensions at the top.