EADS, Airbus heads resign in company shakeup

3rd July 2006, Comments 0 comments

3 July 2006, PARIS - European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) co-CEO Noel Forgeard and the head of EADS subsidiary Airbus, Gustav Humbert, have resigned from their posts, the EADS company announced Sunday.

3 July 2006

PARIS - European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) co-CEO Noel Forgeard and the head of EADS subsidiary Airbus, Gustav Humbert, have resigned from their posts, the EADS company announced Sunday.

Forgeard is to be replaced by the head of the French SNCF railway network, Louis Gallois, who will run EADS alongside the German co- CEO, Tom Enders.

Humbert, a German, is to be replaced as the head of Airbus by former Saint Gobain executive Christian Streiff, a French national.

Forgeard and Humbert have been under fire amid the delays in the delivery of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, which caused the EADS share price to plunge and will cause heavy losses for the European aerospace giant.

"The recently announced delay on the A380 production and delivery programme has been a major disappointment for our customers, our shareholders and our employees," Humbert said in the EADS statement.

"As president and CEO of Airbus, I must take responsibility for this setback and feel the right course of action is to offer my resignation," he added.

The 56-year-old Humbert was named CEO and president of Airbus in June 2005, replacing Forgeard, who moved over to EADS.

Forgeard, 59, said he was stepping down "to put an end to a situation which could compromise the resolution of Airbus's current difficulties and the development of EADS."

Forgeard's situation was also complicated by his sale of EADS stocks in mid-March, when its share price was near its historic high.

In his statement, he denied that the A380 delivery delays or the flap over his stock sales were behind his decision to resign.

"I solemnly declare that this decision has nothing to do with the operational difficulties of Airbus, responsibility for which I have not had for one year, or the controversy over my exercising my stock options," Forgeard said.

Forgeard has repeatedly declared that he did not know of the A380 problems when he sold the shares, which gave him profits of about 2.5 million euros.

Last Wednesday, he firmly denied he would leave his post, telling the finance committee of the National Assembly, "I am competent and honest. It is out of the question (that I resign)."

Forgeard was head of Airbus when the A380, the company's future flagship airplane, was developed. After supplanting its American rival Boeing as the number one civilian aviation manufacturer in the world, the company has suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks.

Development of its long-haul A350 airplane, which was to rival Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, was delayed by several years after customers complained about its design.

DPA

Subject: German news

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