Airbus proposes three new board members
For the next Airbus’ annual general meeting (AGM) that planned on April 11, 2018, three new members should be proposed to succeed to Hans-Peter Keitel, Jean-Claude Trichet and John-Parker, as their mandates at the board of directors are expiring.
René Obermann, current Managing Director at the American investment company Warburg Pincus and former CEO of Deutsche Telekom, will be proposed to replace Hans-Peter Keitel. Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO at the Belgian chemical company Solvay and soon to be chairman of the board of the French energy company Engie, will be proposed to replace Jean-Claude Trichet. Victor Chu, current CEO of Hong Kongese First Eastern Investment Group and member of the Board of China Merchants China Direct Investments, will be proposed to replace Sir John Parker, the company revealed in a statement.
The renewal of Amparo Moraleda’s mandate as non-executive director should also be proposed.
Airbus renews no more than one third of its 12 directors every year in order to avoid sudden changes that they fear could be harmful to the company’s direction. However, the latest renewal round comes at a time when Airbus leadership stability is beginning to be questioned.
Throughout 2017, the company said goodbye to Marwan Lahoud, Head of International Strategy, Charles Champion, Head of Engineering, John Leahy, Sales Chief and Paul Eremenko, Chief Technology Officer. The iconic duo of Fabrice Brégier and Thomas Enders did not survive 2017 either, after corruption allegations tarnished their leadership. In February 2018, Guillaume Faury succeeded to Fabrice Brégier as Chief Operating Officer. Thomas Enders will not renew his mandate as CEO beyond April 2019.
Despite Airbus record sales in 2017, the assumed instability of the company’s direction scares more than one stakeholder.
Local authorities in Toulouse, where Airbus opened its new headquarters in 2016, expressed their concern about this ‘governance crisis’. Bernard Keller, former Head of Communication at Airbus and current vice-president at Toulouse Metropole, in charge of Aeronautics industry in the region, reminded the “triple challenge” that the new direction of Airbus had to face: increase production, sales and innovation.
The new heads of Airbus will now be in charge of setting a new course for the company if it wants to keep its leadership as the first aeronautic manufacturer. If the former direction managed to secure more sales than Boeing in 2 years to come (1109 Airbus orders against 912 for Boeing), the American rival is not far behind, with already more planes delivered in 2017.
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