U.S. and Dutch unhappy with prospect of Capron as new head of Air France

The prospect of Air France appointing Philippe Capron as the troubled carrier’s new CEO has been met with hostility on both sides of the Atlantic. America’s Delta Air Lines, which holds an 8.8% stake in Air France-KLM and Holland’s KLM itself have both objected to the possibility of Capron taking the helm at Air France, the principal point of contention being his clear lack of experience in the airline industry.

Capron is currently the CFO at French water utility Veolia and it was Reuters who became aware at the end of last week that Capron had been shortlisted for the position. Over the weekend, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire had confirmed that Capron was “one candidate among several others” for the post of Air France CEO.

According to Los Echos, a number of past syndicate presidents of Air France and KLM have written an open letter to Anne-Marie Couders, non-executive president of the Group, advising that there was potential for “grave consequences” if Capron were to be given the post. In addition, a number of KLM administrators had also written to Couderc, deploring the lack of information available surrounding the designation of a new CEO at Air France.

Couderc confirmed that she anticipated a final decision would be made before mid-July.

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