Air France appoints new chief executive

Air France appoints new chief executive

The Air France board of directors has appointed Anne Rigail as chief executive of the airline.

The decision was taken during a board meeting earlier and follows the recommendation of Benjamin Smith, chief executive of Air France-KLM, and the approval of the Air France-KLM board.

Previously executive vice president, customer, at Air France, Rigail will assume her new on December 17th.

She will replace acting chief executive Smith, who has been doubling up as Air France chief.

“I would like to thank Benjamin Smith for the outstanding work he has accomplished during his time as acting chief executive of Air France,” said Anne-Marie Couderc, chairwoman of the Air France-KLM board.

“Under his leadership, our airline has rapidly taken decisive steps, renewing constructive social dialogue, and proposing a new executive governance structure as seen with the arrival of Anne Rigail.

“I wish Anne every success in her new position, for the benefit of both Air France and the Air France-KLM Group.

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“I am very pleased that she has accepted this very exciting new challenge.”

First on the agenda for Rigail will be addressing relations between Air France and its unions, which have been wracked with difficulty in recent years.

However, the situation has been made potentially easier following a change in leadership at the powerful SNPL union.

“I am delighted that Anne Rigail is to become the new chief executive of Air France,” said Smith.

“Anne is a strong professional in the airline industry.

“Throughout her career, she has always paid attention to employees while implementing the many projects and transformations she has led, and placed the customer at the heart of everything she does.

“With the support and commitment of every single employee, I am confident we can rise to the challenges for Air France today, ensuring service excellence to all our customers.

“I have complete faith that Anne will succeed in transforming Air France.

“Together with Pieter Elbers, president and chief executive of KLM, the Air France-KLM Group is taking an important step in its reorganisation to reconquer its market position.”