This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Since taking the helm at Air France-KLM, the group’s new Canadian boss said on Monday that he plans on investing half of his salary back into the company. Benjamin Smith, who came to Air France-KLM from his COO role at Air Canada, said he’d invest part of his salary as a gauge of “confidence” in returning the group to success.

Smith has a base salary of 900,000 euros ($1 million), but he can earn as much as 4.25 million euros if performance targets are met.

“I have already made a personal investment by moving with my family to France,” Smith said in a video message to staff. “Today I have decided to make another investment by investing half my fixed salary in Air France-KLM’s share capital.”

Smith is pledging half of his fixed salary, meaning 450,000 euros (~$525,000).

“It’s a way of demonstrating my confidence in our future success,” Smith added. “I’m investing because I believe we can win in our market and become number one, but I also want to show my commitment.”

Smith’s appointment as CEO of the joint group comes at a tough point financially. In the first half of the year, 12 days of strikes resulted in 335 million euros in losses. The series of employee strikes, which caused Smith’s predecessor Jean-Marc Janaillac’s resignation, are at the forefront of issues that Smith is faced with combatting.

According to people familiar with the matter, Smith spent his first day on the job by meeting staff at the company’s headquarters and at its Paris (CDG) hub. In addition, Smith took the first step in softening the relationship by meeting with unions, including the pilots’ union.

“We operate in a fiercely competitive global marketplace,” Smith said in the video to employees. “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.”

Smith, who has been credited with helping Air Canada expand its international reach to more than 200 destinations, also has previous negotiation experience with pilot and flight attendant unions, which led to long-term labor deals.

Featured image by George Pimentel / Getty Images.

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.