Schiphol boss criticized for seeking male successor

A plane approaches Schiphol Airport
A plane approaches Schiphol AirportPhoto: @Schiphol / Twitter

Departing Schiphol CEO Jos Nijhuis is facing a storm of criticism from politicians after he said that his successor will be a man, otherwise Schiphol's board will have more women than men.

"A massive nonsense story", Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure responded to this statement, Het Parool reports. Nijhuis is free to make whatever statements he wants, the Minister said. But she finds this "a bad story". "There is no objection when there are more men in a board of directors than women. I think it's nonsense."

Other politicians are also annoyed. "That's enough with the ladies", PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher tweeted sarcastically.

VVD parliamentarian Andre Bosman called the preference for male directors 19th century. Fellow VVD member Annemarie Jorritsma called it a "bizarre view".

"What madness", D66 parliamentarian Jan Paternotte said on Twitter. "For almost 100 years more men than women in Schiphol, but vice versa is not allowed. And so half of the Netherlands is excluded for a top function." He posed written questions on this matter to Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance.

The Dutch state holds 70 percent of Schiphol's shares. Finance Minister Hoekstra must approve Nijhuis' successor. He was asked for a response on Nijhuis' statements on Friday morning, but refused to comment to AD or Het Parool.

"I will not comment on all statements made by everyone at every state participation", Hoekstra said to AD. He added that Schiphol is looking for an all-rounder to replace Nijhuis. "At Schiphol, like in many places, we are looking for a sheep with five legs", Hoekstra said. "But I will leave it to the supervisory board if they want to make statements about it."