Lauvergeon takes center-stage in EADS board shake-up

Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:12pm EST
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By Emmanuel Jarry and Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) - French officials threw support behind former nuclear boss Anne Lauvergeon to be the first chairwoman of EADS EAD.PA on Sunday in a move likely to test efforts to wrest the European aerospace group away from political influence.

An adviser to French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the Socialist government strongly supported Lauvergeon, a former aide of late President Francois Mitterrand and France's most high-profile female business leader.

EADS is carrying out the biggest reorganization in its 12-year history after France and Germany agreed on a new shareholder structure designed to secure their vital interests while freeing the company from day-to-day interference.

Company watchers say the composition of the board will test the spirit of the accords and determine whether Chief Executive Tom Enders is free to run the company as independently as he claims, or will be forced to rely on building alliances.

EADS shares are up 18 percent this year on hopes of a fresh start after years of political in-fighting.

"The government is very supportive (of Lauvergeon)," the French prime minister's adviser said.

"As shareholder, we think she has all the qualities required to be the non-executive chairwoman of EADS."

EADS declined comment.   Continued...

Visitors talk near the welcome desk of the EADS booth at the ILA Berlin Air Show in Selchow near Schoenefeld south of Berlin on September 13, 2012. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz