In a video to staff marking his first day on the job, CEO Ben Smith promised to seek harmony with unions and re-invest half his salary into Air France-KLM.
Smith can earn up to 4.25MN EUR in his first year, but his base salary will 900,000 EUR. He will invest half of that base into shares of Air France-KLM.
I’ve already made one personal investment by moving my family to France. Today I’ve decided to make another and invest half of my fix salary in the shareholding of the group. It is a commitment to my belief in the future success of Air France-KLM…
We cannot afford to be arrogant and assume we have any more of a right to our customers than our competitors do — we have to earn their business each day. Fighting our competitors, not ourselves, is our ticket to success
Those are fighting words! But he’s right. The competition is becoming leaner and meaner and Air France must adapt or flounder.
We operate in a fiercely competitive global marketplace. We need to act, we need to adapt, and we need to be prepared for both, but remember that I’m not here to do this on the backs of any of you.
That becomes tricky, though, when unions and management have different views about what it means to make changes “on the backs” of labor.
As I said in an earlier post, I am rooting for Ben Smith and hope he achieves smashing success. But with unions so powerful and so resistant to any concessions, Smith’s role is extremely perilous.