Pieter Elbers to stand down as KLM chief executive next year

Pieter Elbers had a 30 year career at KLM. Photo: Koen van Weel ANP
Pieter Elbers had a 30 year career at KLM. Photo: Koen van Weel ANP

Pieter Elbers is standing down as head of Dutch flag carrier KLM next year, after eight years at the helm.

The supervisory board said in a short statement that following ‘close consultation’, it had been ‘established that Pieter Elbers will not enter into a third term as CEO and president of KLM.’

Elbers took over at the end of 2014 and under his watch, great strides were made in boosting the airline’s profitability. But he was not always popular with parent company Air France-KLM and fought hard against plans to reduce the Dutch company’s autonomy within the group.

Dario Fucci, head of KLM’s works council, told the Financieele Dagblad that Elbers’ departure is unexpected. ‘Everyone is in shock,’ he said. ‘We did not expect a decision about him being reappointed until 2023.’

For the works council Elbers is ‘the symbol of unity at times of crisis,’ he said.

News that Elbers is stepping down in 2023 ‘enables the supervisory board of KLM to start a thorough process for a successor in a timely manner,’ the board said.

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