Air Canada president and chief operating officer Benjamin
Smith will take over as CEO of Air France-KLM no later than Sept. 30.
The hire ends more than three months of uncertainty that
began with the May 7 resignation of Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Jenaillac amid
Since May, the company has been led jointly by KLM CEO
Pieter Elbers, Air France CEO Franck Terner and Air France-KLM CFO Frederic
Upon taking his new post, Smith will establish a new
organizational structure with the aim of revitalizing Air France, the airline
"I am well aware of the competitive challenges the Air
France-KLM Group is currently facing, and I am convinced that the airlines'
teams have all the strengths to succeed in the global airline market,"
Smith said in a prepared statement Thursday.
Smith, who has been Air Canada's president since 2014, will
be the first non-French head of Air France-KLM.
Jenaillac's resignation in May came amid 15 days of strikes
between February and June by Air France workers demanding more pay.