Air France-KLM chairman and CEO Alexandre de Juniac is leaving the airline group after being asked to lead a global aviation agency.

De Juniac has overseen difficult restructuring at Air France involving job cuts that prompted sometimes violent protests. He leaves as the airline group's fortunes have improved but is still struggling against low-cost competitors and Mideast and Asian rivals.

Air France-KLM said in a statement Tuesday it has started searching for a replacement to take over by Aug. 1.

It said de Juniac has accepted an offer to become the director of the Geneva-based International Air Transport Association. IATA said its board decided Tuesday to recommend him for the job, pending approval at an annual meeting in June.