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Tue, Jul 17, 2007 - Page 10 News List

EADS names Louis Gallois sole chief, Enders Airbus head


European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co (EADS), struggling with losses caused by the Airbus division's A380 plane delays, named Louis Gallois as sole chief executive officer.

Gallois, a 63-year-old Frenchman, has been chief of Airbus since October. Tom Enders, a 48-year-old German who until now has been co-chief executive of EADS along with Gallois, will run the planemaking unit, EADS said in a statement released before a meeting yesterday between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Airbus' Toulouse, France, headquarters.

The management overhaul was aimed at speeding up decision-making to win outside investors as Airbus seeks fresh capital to finance the planned A350 XWB airliner, a plane that will compete with Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner.

EADS, Europe's biggest aerospace company, was formed when the French, German and Spanish partners in planemaker Airbus combined in July 2000. Under the merger agreement, the main German and French investors must hold equal stakes and are each represented by a joint chairman and co-CEO.

Ruediger Grube will become sole chairman under the new structure, EADS said.

Investors and analysts said communication and production troubles at Airbus, the world's biggest maker of commercial aircraft, stem partly from the political balancing act woven into EADS's governance and management.

Deliveries of the 555-seat A380 are two years late, leading to a 572 million euro (US$789 million) loss at Airbus last year. The plane will cause losses of 4.8 billion euros through 2010, EADS estimated in October. Delays were partly attributable to lack of communication within Airbus and EADS about the gravity of production problems as they developed.

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