KLM CEO Pieter Elbers To Step Down After 2 Terms

After three decades with the airline and eight years at its helm, it will soon be time for Peter Elbers to step down as CEO and President of KLM. Elbers will remain in his position as leader of the Dutch national carrier until March 1, 2023. However, a petition is already circulating among the airline’s employees to overturn the decision.

KLM’s Peter Elbers will not sign up as the airline’s CEO for a third term. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | simple flight

The end of “Beautiful Journey”

Air France-KLM’s board of directors on Thursday approved Pieter Elbers’ decision not to remain as KLM’s president and CEO for a third term. KLM’s supervisory board said the conclusion was reached through “close consultation” with Elbers, who has held the position since 2014.

Meanwhile, the outgoing CEO said he remains fully committed to the carrier he’s been with for thirty years and that there is still a lot of work to do before he steps down. KLM will present its vision for the future on February 3 this year, when sustainability is set to take center stage.

“It goes without saying that I am committed to supporting KLM in this transition to a new leadership. I am extremely proud of this company and its wonderful employees. Especially in these hectic and challenging times, KLM’s strength remains. My thirty-year career with the KLM blue family has been an unbelievably beautiful journey. Imagine her I will always cherish.” Elbers said in a statement after the announcement.

Peter Elbers KLM
KLM’s CEO is incredibly popular within the company, and hundreds have already signed a petition asking him to stay in office for a third term. Photo: KLM

The second period was far from certain

Peter Elbers took over as CEO seven years ago, succeeding Camille Urlings, who held the position for only a year and a half. While Elbers was able to turn the airline’s profitability around, he was seen as firmly sticking to KLM’s independence towards parent company Air France-KLM.

As such, there was talk of him not keeping him in office for a second term when his contract renewal came in 2019. However, more than 25,000 KLM employees signed a petition, and Elbers signed off on it for another four years.

Air France- KLM French flag
KLM employees are concerned that with Elbers gone, parent company Air France-KLM will have more to say in managing the airline. Photo: Getty Images

The new petition is already running

According to NH Nieuws, yesterday’s announcement sparked an immediate and similar response. At the time of writing this article on Friday morning, the online digital petition, open to current and former KLM employees, has collected nearly 400 signatures. Many fear that with Elbers gone, Air France-KLM’s management will gain more influence in decisions about the airline.

Do you think this is the right time for a new leadership of the Dutch flag bearer? What do you think you will do for the dynamics with parent company Air France-KLM? Leave a comment in the section below and join the conversation.

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