By Gwenaëlle Barzic
PARIS (Reuters) - Anne-Marie Couderc, the interim chairman of Air France KLM, has blamed AccorHotels for complicating and delaying the airline's search for a new chief executive, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
The airline has been hunting for a new boss to fill a gap left by the abrupt departure of chief executive Jean-Marc Janaillac in May, after staff rejected a pay proposal aimed at ending strikes that have resulted in heavy losses.
In June, the French hotel group said it was looking at taking a minority stake in the troubled airline group to help it compete better against travel packages offered by online rivals such as Expedia and Booking.com.
Veolia finance chief Philippe Capron, initially a candidate, implicitly cited opposition from AccorHotels as he ruled himself out earlier this month - and suggested the company might be seeking Air France client data.
AccorHotels, which publishes half-year results later in July, declined to comment on the matter.
While some investors have said they saw some sense in a tie-up between AccorHotels and Air France-KLM, notably through co-operation on loyalty programmes, others have questioned why AccorHotels would need to buy a stake in the troubled airline.
(Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; additional reporting dominiqe Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Laurence Frost)
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