The head of Air France-KLM Pierre-Henri Gourgeon resigned Monday at an extraordinary board of directors meeting, a company statement said.
He will be replaced by as CEO by Jean-Cyril Spinetta who was already serving as the chairman of the board of directors and played a key role in setting up the Air-France KLM group.
A source familiar with decision told AFP Sunday there was friction between Gourgeon and Spinetta, but Air France declined to comment on the claim.
"In the current economic context, top priority must be given to the recovery and improvement of the performance of Air France and of KLM," the company said Tuesday, explaining the decision.
The statement also said that because of the economic climate, "the setting-up of a full-dedicated Air France-KLM holding, which was to be implemented at the beginning of 2012, has been put off to 2013."
Gourgeon, 65, was appointed CEO on 1 January 2009.
In July, company shareholders voted to reappoint Gourgeon for another four-year term, but later that month the group reported a first quarter net loss of 197 million euros ($283 million) and warned that outlook was uncertain for the rest of the year.
by Michael Mathes
(c) 2011 AFP
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