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KLM Chief executive Elbers resigns from KQ board

Elbers resignation has been necessitated by his heavy responsibilities and additional commitments as President and CEO of KLM.

KLM chief executive Peter Elbers has resigned from the board of Kenya Airways.

He will be replaced by his alternate director, Jos Veenstra, the Dutch carrier’s current vice president for mergers, acquisitions and holdings.

Mr Elbers had held the position for four years.

Sweeping changes

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The change comes three months after Kenya Airways hired former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph to be the airline’s board chairman.

Plans are also underway to renegotiate KQ’s long-standing joint venture agreement with the major shareholder KLM which currently owns a 26.7 per cent stake in the airline.

In November last year, KQ also appointed Vincent Coste, a former KLM executive as its commercial director, filling a critical managerial position that remained vacant for a year.

Veenstra has been the alternate non-executive director on the KQ board since May 26, 2005 and is currently a member of the board’s audit and risk management committee.”

Key positions

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He is also a member of KQ’s special committee that is handling its operational restructuring with the help of US consultancy, McKinsey.

The committee is also spearheading the ongoing balance sheet restructuring at KQ as well as capital raising with the support of PJT Partners, a New-York-based advisory firm.

Mr Veenstra is the chairman of Cobalt Ground Solutions, a London-based KLM subsidiary which caters to major carriers including Delta Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Korean Air and Kenya Airways from Heathrow Airport.

Kenya Airways last year was forced to defend its partnership with KLM following allegations by the pilot's lobby that the alliance is a liability to the carrier.

“All employees at Kenya Airways have been selected based on merit and KLM as our partner and shareholder has assisted in identifying the right talent for key positions at Kenya Airways. The airline has a comprehensive succession plan and all management director interviews and appointments are undertaken by the Board,” a statement by the then board chair Dennis Awori said in part.

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