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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

In these turbulent times, KLM’s COO departs for British Airways

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After René de Groot announced he was leaving KLM for a position at British Airways, the airline is searching for a new chief operating officer amid turbulence in the aviation sector.

After 32 years with KLM, including as a pilot, de Groot announced on July 6, 2022, that he would be leaving the company on July 15. In November 2014, De Groot was appointed COO at KLM.

“After 32 fantastic years at KLM, I have decided to spread my wings and continue my career at British Airways as Chief Operating Officer,” de Groot said in a press release. “I realize that my departure comes at a turbulent time for KLM, but I leave the airline in the knowledge that the road to recovery has begun and that the organization will be able to do so despite the continuing challenges.”

KLM stated that the company had begun the search for a new COO and planned to promptly fill the position.

“Having first joined KLM in 1990, René has a long track record at KLM. He has contributed enormously to KLM, both in his role as a commercial pilot and later in management, and over the last eight years as COO and statutory Managing Director,” Cees ‘t Hart – Chairman of the KLM Supervisory Board, commented in the statement. “We would like to thank him very much for his unswerving commitment and wish him all the very best in his new role.”

The change occurs shortly after Marjan Rintel takes over as KLM’s CEO on July 1, 2022, succeeding Pieter Elbers.

With labor shortages all the board, airlines in Europe are currently having trouble keeping up with the pandemic’s comeback in travel demand. Images show lengthy lines of passengers extending outside the terminal building at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, the base for KLM.

Other airlines are also undergoing management changes, with easyJet’s COO resigning this week amid cancellations and delays.

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