Benjamin Smith New CEO of Air France-KLM; Unions Concerned

Unions at Air France-KLM voiced concern after the company appointed Benjamin Smith as the new CEO with the support of the French state.

The company said Thursday that Smith, who is 46 and was previously Air Canada’s chief operating officer, will fill the role by Sept. 30.

Vincent Salles, unionist at CGT-Air France union, said on France Info radio that unions fear Smith’s mission is to implement plans that would “deteriorate working conditions and wages.”

The previous CEO, Jean-Marc Janaillac, resigned in May after Air France employees held 13 days of strike over pay and rejected the company’s wage proposal, considered too low.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire welcomed an “opportunity” for Air France-KLM and expressed his confidence in Smith’s ability to “re-establish social dialogue.”

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