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Air France-KLM Thinks Having 3(!) CEOs Is a Great Idea

By David Meyer May 16, 2018

Having two CEOs can be a tricky balancing act to pull off… so how about three? That’s the situation Air France-KLM finds itself in, for now at least.

The beleaguered carrier group recently lost CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac due to his inability to end long-running French strikes over pay, and now it’s replaced him with a trio: CFO Frédéric Gagey, who is stepping up as group CEO; and the Air France and KLM CEOs, Franck Terner and Pieter Elbers, who are now also both deputy group CEOs. Meanwhile, former French employment and labor minister Anne-Marie Couderc has become executive chairman of the group’s board.

This setup is being presented as transitional, while the company finds a proper replacement for Janaillac. But it doesn’t seem like the triumvirate will be able to do much to solve the issue that brought Janaillac down: those strikes (which must be viewed in the context of wider pushback against President Emmanuel Macron’s attempted labor reforms).

“Regarding the ongoing labor dispute at Air France, the Air France-KLM Board of Directors confirms that the Air France CEO does not have a new mandate to take decisions that would jeopardize the growth strategy approved by the Air France-KLM Board of Directors,” the company said.

As Bloomberg notes, that leaves the unions with no-one to talk to. So whoever ends up taking Janaillac’s seat will find it just as hot as he left it—if not more so.

Air France-KLM, along with investors that include Delta and China Eastern, must be hoping this holding pattern is very brief indeed.

A version of this article first appeared in CEO Daily, Fortune’s daily newsletter covering must-read business news and more. Subscribe here.

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