KLM Appoints Marjan Rintel as New CEO

KLM Appoints Marjan Rintel as New CEO

DALLAS – The Board of Directors of Air France-KLM approved the Supervisory Board of KLM’s proposal to select Marjan Rintel as the new CEO of KLM, succeeding Pieter Elbers. Rintel will take office on July 1, 2022.

Marjan Rintel is the current CEO of NS, the Netherlands’ largest passenger train company. Prior to joining NS in 2014, she worked at KLM and Air France-KLM in a number of managerial, operational, and commercial roles, including Hub Operations at KLM and Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing at Air France-KLM.

According to a Group press release, Rintel’s extensive airline industry experience, intimate knowledge of the Air France-KLM Group, and leadership qualities persuaded the Board to select her as the right person to continue the work begun by Pieter Elbers.

Worth noting is that both Air France (AF) and KLM (KL) have female CEOs, with Anna Rigali taking over as AF’s CEO in late 2018. Because airline CEOs are overwhelmingly male (less than 5% are female), it’s encouraging to see this leadership move at Air France-KLM.

The group also took the opportunity to announce that the Board of Directors decided to extend Benjamin Smith’s mandate as Group CEO for a further five years, that is until the General Meeting summoned to approve the financial accounts for the year 2026, which is slated to take place in May 2027.

Air France KLM Tails. Photo: Air France-KLM group

Strong Management Positions

Both moves place a strong management team for years ahead in a market climate that remains exceedingly complex, given the challenges that lie ahead. As per the press release, the Air France-KLM Board of Directors’ aim is to restore the Group’s governance and for the management teams of the Group’s airlines to work together to help the Group reclaim its position as a leader in the European airline sector.

Anne-Marie Couderc, Chair of Air France-KLM Board of Directors, said, “Marjan Rintel will soon join his team as CEO of KLM. Her extensive experience at KLM and of the Dutch transport industry makes her the best person to lead the company, drawing on the strengths of the entire Air France-KLM Group.”

Couderec added, “These two decisions by the Board of Directors stabilize the governance of the Group at a key moment in its history. Ben Smith has demonstrated his unwavering commitment and professionalism over the past three and a half years, which justifies the Board’s total support for his continued leadership of the Group for another five years.”

Featured image: Marjan Rintel via YouTube

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