UPDATE 1-European turboprop maker ATR to get new CEO - source

Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:23pm EDT
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(Updates with details, background)

By Tim Hepher

BARCELONA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - A senior Airbus Group executive, Christian Scherer, is to be named as chief executive of Franco-Italian turboprop aircraft maker ATR, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Scherer, who currently heads Airbus Group International, will replace Patrick de Castelbajac, who is leaving half way through his four-year mandate to return to Airbus, one of ATR's two shareholders, the source said, asking not to be named.

Scherer is expected to serve the full four-year term at the world's largest regional turboprop maker, whose top post usually alternates every four years between joint shareholders Airbus Group and Italy's Leonardo Finmeccanica.

ATR declined to comment.

The appointment of Scherer, seen as one of the main architects of the successful A320neo Airbus jet programme as well as the launch of a new overseas Airbus assembly plant in Alabama, is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Industry sources say he will bring a staunchly commercial focus as the European turboprop maker, and its main rival Bombardier of Canada, face volatile markets.

With $2 billion of turnover, ATR contributes steadily to both shareholders but there have been differences over strategy in recent years as Airbus blocked proposals for a new 90-seat turboprop that was viewed more favourably by Leonardo.   Continued...