KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has announced Pieter Elbers has been appointed by the KLM Supervisory Board president to the position of chief executive of KLM, replacing Camiel Eurlings.
The surprise move will see Elbers take over immediately, ahead of the end of Eurlings’ contract in April 2015.
Hans Smits, chairman of the KLM Advisory Board, said: “The board would like to thank Camiel Eurlings for his contributions during the four years of his tenure at KLM.
“We wish Pieter Elbers much success with the new challenges involved in his new position.”
Eurlings was Dutch transport minister before joining the national airline.
KLM has continued to turn a profit in the past two years, at a time with partner airline Air France has continued to incur losses.
Elbers, 44, started his career at KLM in 1992 and held until today the position of chief operating officer and deputy chief executive of KLM.
He has been a member of KLM’s statutory Board of Managing Directors since April 2012.
Outgoing Eurlings, said: “KLM is and always will remain a fantastic company, where I have had the pleasure of working with passion for the past four years.
“I would like to wish all 35,000 KLM employees worldwide all the best in the run-up to KLM’s centenary.”
Elbers previous positions at KLM include senior vice president network and alliances, general manager KLM Japan & Korea and general manager KLM Mediterranean.
He is a member of the Supervisory Boards of Kenya Airways and Transavia Airlines.