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Pieter Elbers Is the Employees’ Champ, But Is That Enough to Keep Him CEO?

The contract of Pieter Elbers, the current CEO of KLM, is about to expire in just a few months. Despite the possibility of his imminent departure from the company, he is wildly popular among his employees, who turned out in force earlier this week to declare their support for Elbers via a petition.

The four-year contract of KLM CEO Pieter Elbers is set to expire in April, but this hasn’t stopped employees of the Air France subsidiary from vocalizing their support for the head of their company, Reuters reports.

On Thursday, KLM employees turned out in force to submit a petition that serves as testimony to the success that the company has seen under Elbers’ leadership. According to the news agency, the petition received 25,000 signatures from 35,000 total employees.

A letter addressed to Anne-Marie Couderc, the chairman of Air France and Air France-KLM, outlined the possible consequences of Elbers’ departure. “There would be a very real risk of unrest among the employees and unclear and potentially unstable management if Pieter Elbers were to be forced to step down.”

Should Elbers leave KLM, many fear that KLM’s fortunes would wane and even the Dutch government has made its support of Elbers publicly known. Earlier this week, Wopke Hoekstra, the nation’s finance minister, spoke to his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire about the group’s current operations.

Explaining the relationship between Elbers and Ben Smith, the CEO of Air France-KLM, the outlet states, “New CEO Ben Smith has pushed for deeper integration among the airline’s operating divisions since his appointment last autumn. KLM has fiercely guarded its structure and brand since its acquisition in 2003, leading to tensions between Elbers and Smith.”

It goes on to say that, under Elbers’ tenure, KLM has outperformed Air France, a point that “has also caused tensions within the group.”



[Image: KLM]

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Calchas February 21, 2019

Not many airlines can report such a degree of enthusiasm for their CEO from the work force. I would like to see an in-depth piece examining the reasons for this show of support.