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Published on Thursday, December 13, 2018

Air France appoints first female CEO

Air France has appointed Anne Rigail as CEO, the airline's first female chief.

She was previously EVP customer at Air France and replaces group Air France/KLM Group CEO Benjamin Smith, who has been covering the role.

Smith joined in August from Air Canada and became the first non-French chief in Air France's 85-year history.

He replaced Jean-Marc Janaillac, who stepped down in May over worsening relations with the unions and prolonged strike action which cost the company millions.

Smith said: "Anne is a strong professional in the airline industry. Throughout her career, she has always paid particular attention to employees while implementing the many projects and transformations she has led, and placed the customer at the heart of everything she does

"With the support and commitment of every single employee, I am confident we can rise to the challenges for Air France today, ensuring service excellence to all our customers. I have complete faith that Anne will succeed in transforming Air France. Together with Pieter Elbers, president and CEO of KLM, the Air France-KLM Group is taking an important step in its reorganisation to reconquer its market position."

Anne-Marie Couderc, chairwoman of the Air France-KLM Board of Directors, thanked Smith for his 'outstanding work' with Air France.

"Under his leadership, our airline has rapidly taken decisive steps, renewing constructive social dialogue, and proposing a new executive governance structure as seen with the arrival of Anne Rigail," she said.

"I wish Anne every success in her new position, for the benefit of both Air France and the Air France-KLM Group. I am very pleased that she has accepted this very exciting new challenge."

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