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Air France human resources executive Gateau to leave company

By Cyril Altmeyer

PARIS (Reuters) - Gilles Gateau, the head of human resources at Air France (AIRF.PA), is to leave the French airline, according to an internal Email seen by Reuters.

No details were given for Gateau's departure, in the internal Email. The Air France internal memorandum added that Gateau would be replaced on an interim basis by Patrice Tizon.

Benjamin Smith took over as Air France KLM's chief executive last month. Smith faces having to overcome union resistance to reduce the French unit's swollen cost base while keeping increasingly frustrated Dutch staff on side.

A wave of strikes this spring cost the group over 300 million euros ($348 million) and led to the departure of Smith's predecessor.

Smith met union staff on Monday. Trade union representative Christophe Malloggi said talks with Smith had been "frank" and that union staff were sticking to their demands for better pay.

Air France KLM shares were down 3.9 percent in late session trading, with the European airline sector impacted by a profit warning from Ryanair (RYA.I). Air France KLM's share price is down by nearly 40 percent so far in 2018.

The French state has a 14 percent stake in Air France KLM, while Delta Airlines (DAL.N) and China Eastern Airlines <600115.SS> each hold an 8.8 percent stake.

(Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)