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No Canadians: Air France unions want French CEO

PARIS (AFP): Trade unions at Air France called Thursday for the company to name a French chief executive amid reports that the board is set to nominate Canadian Ben Smith at the helm of the group.

Nine out of ten unions issued a joint statement saying it was “inconceivable that the Air France company, French since 1933, falls into the hands of a foreign executive whose candidacy is being promoted by a competitor”.

The statement appeared to be referring to Delta Airlines, the US airline which owns 8.8 percent of the capital of Air France-KLM, the parent group formed out of the merger of Air France and KLM of the Netherlands in 2004. The union statement, which said the new boss needed “intimate knowledge… of the French social model”, said that the board was expected to hold a teleconference on Thursday to discuss the nomination.

The Franco-Dutch airline has been searching for a new boss since Jean-Marc Janaillac resigned in May, having gambled his job on getting Air France staff to accept a new pay deal after months of strikes.

 

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