KLM CEO Pieter Elbers will step down next year
Pieter Elbers will depart from his leadership role at KLM next year. The airline's supervisory board says that the decision was made "in close consultation" with Elbers, and he will not return for a third term as the company's CEO. His current term ends in May 2023.
According to the board, the early announcement means that the search for a successor can start with an adequate amount of time. In addition, the restructuring plan implemented under Elbers will be largely completed by the end of his time at the airline.
Elbers says in a brief response that he will continue to commit himself fully to KLM until the end of his term. "I am extremely proud of this company and its fantastic employees. Especially in these hectic and difficult times, they remain the strength of KLM," he stated. He also wrote in a memo to staff that it is still too early to look back on his thirty year career at KLM. He pointed out that there is still plenty of work to be done. On February 3, KLM will present its vision for the future, in which sustainability will play an important role, according to the departing CEO.
Elbers took over as head of KLM at the end of 2014, succeeding Camiel Eurlings, who at the time was pushed out after 1.5 years on the job. Major steps were taken under Elbers's leadership up until the coronavirus crisis. As a result, KLM's profitability showed a clear improvement, and more investments were made. Elbers did, however, ask for staff members to make sacrifices, as well.
In 2019, there was a great deal of chatter about the reappointment of Elbers after his first term. He was seen by the management of Air France-KLM as an obstacle to the parent company's plans to change its structure. He repeatedly opposed plans that would have limited KLM's autonomy. At the time, at least 25,000 KLM employees signed a petition for his reappointment.
Elbers is also a member of the Executive Committee of Air France-KLM. He will also step away that function.
Reporting by ANP.