Under-fire chief of EADS military has Spanish support

20th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Despite having the backing of the government, Carlos Suarez’s dismissal is imminent, reports several newspapers.

MADRID – The fate of Carlos Suarez, head of EADS' Spanish-based military division, was uncertain Thursday despite Spanish government support for him amid internal tensions in the European aeronautics group.

Suarez's position as head of the Military Transport Aircraft Division (MTAD), a division of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, was discussed Wednesday at a meeting of the EADS nominations committee, a spokesman for the industry ministry said Thursday.

"The Spanish representative said it was the exclusive prerogative of the (Spanish) government" to hire or dismiss the head of MTAD.

The spokesman on Monday declared that "Suarez has the confidence and support of the Spanish government".

Spanish press reports have said Suarez has clashed with Tom Enders, the German chief executive of Airbus, the commercial aircraft subsidiary of EADS, over a plan to integrate MTAD into Airbus.

The plan announced in December would put Airbus in direct control of MTAD's troubled A400M military transport programme.

The French newspaper Le Figaro said last week the A400M was facing a three-year delay that would add an estimated EUR five billion to its cost, while Financial Times Deutschland reported the aircraft is overweight and cannot carry its designed payload, necessitating modifications.

Several newspapers said Suarez' dismissal is imminent, despite the government's support.

"According to agreements in force in the group" Spain, which holds a 5.49 percent stake in EADS, "decides who heads MTAD," the industry ministry spokesman said.

Spain is not opposed to the integration plan in principle but fears a dilution of its influence in the group and a potential loss of jobs.

The country slipped into recession in 2008, with unemployment hitting 13.9 percent.

Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian said Wednesday he would "not tolerate" more threats of job cuts in the country.

Spanish newspapers have tipped Airbus aeronautic engineer Domingo Urena, who is close to the number two at Airbus, Fabrice Bregier, to replace Suarez.

AFP / Expatica

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