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French finance minister urges governments to leave new EADS management to its job

French finance minister urges governments to leave new EADS management to its job

Governments should leave the management of Airbus parent EADS to its new executive team, France's finance minister said Monday.
The new team at European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., put in place Monday, takes over as the plane maker Airbus looks to move beyond troubles including production delays and cost overruns.
"We should let them produce the work they are expected to do as sensible managers of a very reputable, successful European company," Finance Minister Christine Lagarde told The Associated Press in an interview.
"It's back to work," she said.
EADS' simplified management structure _ in which Frenchman Louis Gallois takes over as its only CEO _ was announced at a summit between President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month.
Lagarde declined to comment on discussions over the establishment of a golden share giving governments the right to veto strategic decisions at the company. Gallois has said he would support such a move, but all Lagarde said is "we will be looking at the golden share."
When EADS was stitched together in 2000 combining French, German and Spanish interests, it was agreed that German and French investors would hold equal stakes and be represented by joint chairmen and CEOs.
The dual structure was faulted for clashes that led to costly delays to Airbus' superjumbo A380.
Under the new single management structure, German Thomas Enders is now in charge of heading Airbus operations. The three top executive posts _ with a second German as chairman _ will alternate between countries every five years.
The French government owns 15 percent of EADS, and French conglomerate Lagardere holds 7.5 percent. The German government holds no direct stake, but Germany-based DaimlerChrysler and German banks hold 22.5 percent.
EADS has been tarnished by a series of mishaps over the past two years at Airbus. In addition to delays of the A380 superjumbo and a costly revamp of the A350, a stream of management errors, technical woes and huge severance payments for departing executives has left the company battered.
Lagarde bemoaned the lack of media interest in possible delays announced by Airbus' rival Boeing Co. for the first flight of its new 787 Dreamliner.
"There was massive comments on the delay in testing the Airbus A380, there was little said about the delay in testing the latest Dreamliner of Boeing," she said.
Boeing said earlier this month the final assembly of the midsize jet, the integration of its aviation, hydraulic, electronic and other systems and software, plus several rounds of structural testing could lead to a delay in the first flight.


Updated : 2021-04-17 20:22 GMT+08:00