Rumor: Airbus’ John Leahy to be replaced by Rolls-Royce head?
According to an unofficial account, the retiring Airbus commercial aircraft salesman John Leahy is to be replaced by Eric Schulz, the head of civil engines division at Rolls-Royce, Reuters reports.
The initial announcement on Leahy’s retirement, which is foreseen in January 2018, pointed to Kiran Rao, Airbus’ executive VP of strategy and marketing, to be the successor of the retiring sales legend. However, now it appears that there are more players in the field, as Reuters reports Leahy’s successor to be chosen between two names – the head of Rolls-Royce division Eric Schulz and Christian Scherer, an executive at ATR. Despite Scherer’s ties to Tom Enders, Airbus CEO, Schulz is currently seen as the more likely option.
During his career at Airbus, Leahy amassed deals for more than $1 trillion. The sixty-six-year-old joined the aircraft manufacturer in 1985 and was appointed as the company’s chief commercial officer in 1994. At his position, Leahy outlasted five Airbus CEOs and seven sales chiefs from rival Boeing.
Often called one of the industry’s most prolific salespeople, Leahy significantly contributed to the increase of the company’s market share. When appointed as the sales chief, he set the goal of 50% market sales, which the company achieved in 2000. In the beginning of his term in 1994, Airbus’ market share was 18%.
Leahy was also a key player in the launch of the A320neo (New Engine Option) family, which has become the fastest selling aircraft program in aviation history. He was also instrumental in the launch of the A350 XWB family as well as the A330neo.
Leahy holds an MBA from Syracuse University with a concentration in Finance and Transportation Management and a BA from Fordham University with a dual major in Communications and Philosophy. He is also a licensed multi-engine commercial pilot and a former flight instructor.
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