No decision yet on future of Airbus head: EADS

9th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

9 October 2006, PARIS - The European aerospace giant EADS on Monday denied reports that it had decided to accept the resignation of the head of its aircraft-manufacturing subsidiary Airbus, Christian Streiff. "No decision has been taken" on Streiff's future, EADS spokesman Christian Poppe told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. The statement was made after the Paris-based International Herald Tribune reported Monday that Streiff was set to resign as early as Monday and after a source close to EADS (European Aero

9 October 2006

PARIS - The European aerospace giant EADS on Monday denied reports that it had decided to accept the resignation of the head of its aircraft-manufacturing subsidiary Airbus, Christian Streiff.

"No decision has been taken" on Streiff's future, EADS spokesman Christian Poppe told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The statement was made after the Paris-based International Herald Tribune reported Monday that Streiff was set to resign as early as Monday and after a source close to EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) said the company was prepared to accept his resignation and replace him with company co-CEO Louis Gallois.

Another person within EADS, speaking on condition that his name not be used, said that a final decision on Streiff could come as early as Monday or it may still be days away.

In its report, the International Herald Tribune cited three people "with direct knowledge of the situation," who said the conflict between Streiff and his superiors at EADS centred on how much autonomy he and his staff would have in implementing the plan to rescue Airbus from its present crisis which was announced last week.

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.

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 Noel Forgeard at EADS at the same time.

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 report, which cited a person with "knowledge of the proceedings," 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 wanted a clear chain of command so that he would not be short-circuited and would not have to justify every decision to EADS management.

However, 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 practice 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.

DPA

Subject: German news

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