France’s transport minister is urging Air France-KLM to name a Group CEO in July and for that person to be someone with airline industry expertise.

Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac stepped down May 15 departure after confronting Air France unions over a long-running and costly dispute that has still not been resolved. A temporary management team is leading the group.

French transport minister Elisabeth Borne told French radio station Radio Classique June 27 that it would be “in everyone’s interest” if Janaillac’s successor could be named in July.  

The Franco-Dutch group’s board of directors met in Amsterdam June 26 and 27 for its annual strategy seminar and discussed the recruitment process, the company said in a statement.

“This process conducted by the appointments and governance committee continues in line with the initial objective set by the board, aimed at implementation as quickly as possible.”

Borne told Radio Classique, “It’s important that we have an air transport professional. It’s quite a specialized sector; we’re in a very competitive environment. Air France-KLM faces global competition and I think it’s important that we find someone who is specialized in air transport and who can take the controls of the airline as quickly as possible as it is facing significant challenges.”

However, Borne said Philippe Capron, CFO of French water and waste company Veolia was one of the candidates being considered. Reports that he was about to be nominated by the Air France-KLM committee sparked outcry over his lack of air transport experience.

The French state owns 14.3% of Air France-KLM, while Delta Air Lines and China Air Lines hold 8.8% each. Economy minister Bruno Le Maire has previously said all shareholders should have their say in the decision.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk