Airbus vice-president to leave after 40 years

14th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 14 (AFP) - Gerard Blanc, vice-president of European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, will leave the company after nearly 40 years' service in a further shake-out from the management changes last month, sources close to the matter told AFP Thursday, confirming an earlier report Thursday in the Financial Times.

PARIS, July 14 (AFP) - Gerard Blanc, vice-president of European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, will leave the company after nearly 40 years' service in a further shake-out from the management changes last month, sources close to the matter told AFP Thursday, confirming an earlier report Thursday in the Financial Times.

Blanc lost out in a battle for the chief executive position, which was marked by wrangling between the shareholders of Airbus's parent company, EADS.

Blanc's bid for the top job was blocked by German car maker DaimlerChrysler, a shareholder in EADS, which vetoed his nomination.

According to the report in the Financial Times, the successful candidate, Gustav Humbert, is keen to reorganise the top management of Airbus quickly and intends to divide the chief operating officer responsibilities between two executives.

Under the planned changes, Charles Champion, current director of Airbus's superjumbo A380 project, will be named joint-chief operating officer, the sources told AFP, confirming the information in the Financial Times.

Champion has been in charge of Airbus's most high-profile project: developing the A380, the world's biggest commercial airliner capable of transporting between 555 and 840 passengers.

John Leahy, current chief commercial officer, will be named as the other joint-chief operating officer, the Financial Times said.

Toulouse-based Airbus is 80-percent owned by EADS, also known as the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, a joint-venture between several European companies and the French state.

The new management team under Humbert, which must be approved by the EADS board, will face several challenges, most importantly the increased competition from US rival Boeing.

The launch of the A380 has also run into problems. The timetable for deliveries is already six-months behind schedule.

Furthermore, Airbus is at the centre of a dispute with the United States over state aid given by European governments to develop aircraft.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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