Pieter Elbers
President and Chief Executive Officer

As CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Pieter aspires to make KLM Europe’s most customer centric, efficient and sustainable premium network carrier. His leadership style is characterised by the conviction that the management of a company requires a continuous balancing between people, planet and prosperity. 

Since he took up the office as CEO in 2014, he lead KLM through an intensive transformation. Pieter, together with the Executive Team, defined KLM’s ambition and successfully executed this strategy through the annual Flight Plan from 2015 until 2019. Thereby building a financially healthy firm with a high-performance organization, satisfied customers and motivated staff. In 2019, this resulted in a record turnover of €11 billion. During that same year, KLM celebrated as the first airline in history its 100th birthday. KLM is one of the largest private sector employers in the Netherlands and has a significant societal role.   

Starting in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be the greatest crisis in aviation. Pieter, with his team, navigates KLM through these turbulent times and is shifting the paradigm to go “from only more, to better”; redefining how to build back a better company and future after this crisis. He considers continuous transformation to be vital. KLM focusses on innovation & technological advancements and the further development of alliances & partnerships, while ensuring the highest hygiene & safety standards. Other important strategic pillars for KLM are sustainability and inclusion.  

Both by intrinsic motivation and given its size in The Netherlands, KLM does not only strive to live up to its economical- or social position, but also to a position as a company that actually lives and breathes corporate responsibility.   

After obtaining his engineering title, Pieter Elbers started his career with KLM in 1992 on the platform as Manager Aircraft loading. This was followed by several managerial positions in the Netherlands, Italy, Greece and Japan before he took up the office as Chief Operating Officer (2011) in the managing board of KLM.

Next to his current role at KLM and as executive of the Air France-KLM Group, he is a member of the Board of Governors of IATA (the International Air Transport Association). In addition, he has a leading role in the Dutch business world as managing director of VNO-NCW. He is married and has three kids. Convinced that a healthy mind equals a healthy body, he runs regularly to stay fit. His personal interests cover history & cultures.  


Speaking at International Hospitality Investment Forum

Talk of the Titans - Sharing Visions for Future Success

It's time to come together, work together and succeed together. The first of our one-on-one talk of the titans will see two hospitality and travel leaders sharing ideas on managing recovery and planning for a brighter future.