Airbus head Streiff resigns - Gallois his successor

11th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 October 2006, Paris (dpa) - The head of European airplane manufacturer Airbus, Christian Streiff, stepped down Monday after only three months on the job, Airbus's parent company EADS said in a statement. The resignation ends a week of speculation by European media over Streiff's status and a power struggle between Airbus and EADS executives over the amount of autonomy he would be given to try and pull the aircraft builder out of difficulties caused by delivery delays of its A380 superjumbo. EADS (Europe

10 October 2006

Paris (dpa) - The head of European airplane manufacturer Airbus, Christian Streiff, stepped down Monday after only three months on the job, Airbus's parent company EADS said in a statement.

The resignation ends a week of speculation by European media over Streiff's status and a power struggle between Airbus and EADS executives over the amount of autonomy he would be given to try and pull the aircraft builder out of difficulties caused by delivery delays of its A380 superjumbo.

EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) said his resignation was with immediate effect and that he would be replaced by EADS co-CEO Louis Gallois, who would hold both posts.

The German co-CEO of EADS, Thomas Enders, will be responsible for all EADS activities outside of Airbus, including defence, aerospace and the helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter.

"The new management structure will allow, on the one hand, a leaner, more efficient corporate governance and, on the other hand, additional cost savings within the EADS group," the company said.

But Streiff, in an interview to appear in Tuesday's edition of Le Figaro, said he was concerned for the company's future if it did not improve its leadership structure.

"Airbus must be put back in command of its own aeroplane, and not be piloted by EADS," Streiff said, adding that there was a "de facto dual command at the helm of Airbus."

"There was no problem among individuals - there weren't any between Thomas Enders and me - but a problem of structure," Streiff said.

In addition, the EADS board of directors underlined its unanimous support for the Power 8 Airbus recovery programme as well as for the immediate implementation of the A380 recovery plan.

It said the company would take its decision on the long-haul A350 XWB in the next weeks.

The fate of the A350, which was meant to compete with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, was one point of contention between Streiff and EADS management.

Enders said last week that the plane's future had not been decided, while Streiff argued that the project was necessary for Airbus's competitivity in the global aviation market.

The Paris-based International Herald Tribune reported Monday that Streiff had clashed with his superiors at EADS over how much autonomy he and his staff would have in implementing the Airbus rescue plan, which was announced on October 3.

The crisis was provoked by production problems of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, which have now delayed delivery of the largest commercial airliner ever built by up to two years, costing the company some 4.8 billion euros over four years.

On September 29, Streiff presented an extensive restructuring plan to EADS executives that included significant job cuts and the transfer of all A380 production from facilities in the German city of Hamburg to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, in southern France.

According to the newspaper, Streiff threatened to resign in protest after his suggestions were rejected.

The daily Le Monde reported in its weekend edition that Streiff also demanded the power to hire and had wanted a clear chain of command so that he would not have to justify every decision to EADS management.

Stung repeatedly by revelations of A380 delivery delays and cost overruns, EADS management insisted on having more of a say in Airbus operations.

In addition, Streiff's proposal to move A380 production from Hamburg to Toulouse set off political alarm bells in Germany, and forced EADS co-chief Thomas Enders to practise damage control, saying that Hamburg was "our second most important production site, and we are committed to it."

On Friday, the French business daily La Tribune reported that Streiff had already made moves to look for another job, reportedly meeting with members of the Peugeot family about taking over the French car-maker's top job when its present head, Jean-Martin Folz, retires at the end of the year.

Streiff was hired on July 2 to replace Gustav Humbert after the announcement of a second A380 delivery delay sent EADS shares plunging on European bourses. Gallois was named to replace fellow Frenchman Noel Forgeard at EADS at the same time.

DPA

Subject: German news

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