Airbus sales head joins EADS executive committee

Thu Sep 6, 2012 4:44pm EDT
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PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's EADS EAD.PA on Thursday named Airbus sales head John Leahy to its executive committee, which sets strategy for the European commercial and military aviation group.

Leahy, 62, who helped propel the planemaker from European upstart to number one in commercial sales and deliveries, has become Boeing Co's (BA.N: Quote) most visible adversary since taking over the sales in 1994.

He was one of a handful of new appointees to a reshuffled executive board put in place by recently installed EADS Chief Executive Tom Enders, who previously served as CEO of Airbus.

Others included Airbus Chief Operating Officer Butschek, 51, and the new head of the EADS defense division Cassidian, 59-year-old Bernhard Gerwert. Both moves had been expected.

EADS said on Monday Gerwert had replaced Stefan Zoller as the head of Cassidian, the second-largest division in EADS by revenues. Enders and Zoller were not seen as close.

Industry analysts said the new composition of the executive committee reflected Enders' desire to provide better balance towards Airbus, which dominates the group's annual revenues of 50 billion euros.

But the reshaped executive committee is expected to take a broader role under Enders, concentrating on issues ranging across the divisions rather than focusing closely on operations.

Sources familiar with the matter said a smaller group of five committee members was expected to focus on major decisions.

Besides Enders, they include strategy chief Marwan Lahoud, personnel chief Thierry Baril, finance director Harald Wilhelm and Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier, the only divisional chief to join the inner cabinet around the recently appointed CEO.   Continued...

Airbus sales chief John Leahy is seen during an announcement at the 49th Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget airport near Paris June 23, 2011. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes