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Air France names new leaders as airline looks to end costly turbulence
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Air France names new leaders as airline looks to end costly turbulence

Air France-KLM named chief financial officer Frederic Gagey as its interim CEO on Tuesday following Jean-Marc Janaillac’s sudden exit in a bitter dispute over salaries in the group’s French wing.

Former French minister Anne-Marie Couderc was named non-executive chairman at the French-Dutch group, which has been hit by months of strikes as unions seek a 5.1 percent pay rise at Air France this year.

Gagey, 61, will sit on a new management committee alongside Franck Terner and Pieter Elbers, CEOs of the French and Dutch operations respectively, who will act as his deputies.

But the board indicated that the temporary CEO will not have a mandate to find a way out of a pay dispute which management says has cost at least 300 million euros ($356 million) due to strikes since February.

«Regarding the ongoing labour dispute… the Air France CEO does not have a new mandate to take decisions that would jeopardise the growth strategy approved by the Air France-KLM board of directors,» a statement said.

Janaillac said Air France was «going through one of the most difficult crises in its history».

«Repeated crises, strikes, disputes and doubts have divided our group,» he told a shareholders’ meeting after officially stepping down Tuesday, saying the strikes had «dented customers’ trust and the image» of Air France.

Janaillac gambled his job on calling a vote among Air France staff on whether to accept a seven percent pay rise over four years, saying he would quit if it was rejected…

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