British Airways has hired René de Groot as Chief Operating Officer (COO).

He had been serving in the same role at Dutch carrier KLM, and will begin in the new post in October.

“After 32 fantastic years at KLM, I have decided to spread my wings and continue my career at British Airways as Chief Operating Officer,” he said.

“I realise 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 organisation will be able to do so despite the continuing challenges.

“I thank KLM for all the opportunities I have been given and all my colleagues and partners for their confidence, cooperation and what I have been able to learn from them. That and all the fond memories I have will always stay with me in my career moving forward.”

KLM past

De Groot was appointed COO at KLM in November 2014 and began his first term as a member of KLM’s statutory Board of Managing Directors in April 2015. He was reappointed in 2019, with his second term originally due to end in 2023. In addition to his role as COO, De Groot carried responsibility for KLM’s Air Operator Certificate in relation to the Dutch Civil Aviation Authority. He will also resign from this position effective 15 July.

As a result of his departure, KLM’s Supervisory Board has initiated the procedure to find a successor. KLM said it hoped to be able to fill the vacancy at short notice.

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