August 16, 2018 / 6:08 PM / a year ago

Air France KLM names Air Canada executive Smith as CEO

FILE PHOTO: Air Canada's Benjamin Smith poses for a picture during a reception at the 2016 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Dublin, Ireland June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The board of Air France-KLM (AIR.PA) named Air Canada (AC.TO) executive Benjamin Smith as its new chief executive on Thursday, opting for an outsider to try and steer the group through a fraught stand-off with unions at its French carrier.

Smith, until now the Canadian airline’s chief operating officer, will take up his new job at Air France-KLM at the latest by September 30, the company said in a statement.

His appointment comes more than three months after Jean-Marc Janaillac stepped down as CEO after staff rejected a pay deal intended to end a wave of costly strikes at Air France.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Sarah White

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