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November 27, 2017

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Airbus set to lure Rolls exec to head sales

AIRBUS is poised to hire the head of Rolls-Royce’s civil engines unit, Eric Schulz, to lead its commercial jetliner sales, after months of uncertainty over the successor to sales kingpin John Leahy, three people familiar with the matter said.

Schulz, president of the civil engines division at the British engineering firm, has been recommended for the post to bring in outside blood as the company faces turmoil over the impact of UK and French corruption investigations.

Christian Scherer, chief executive of turboprop maker ATR, jointly owned by Airbus and Italian aerospace firm Leonardo , had also been considered for one of aviation’s highest profile roles.

Scherer, an Airbus veteran of 30 years before joining ATR, was seen by many as a leading candidate and enjoys close ties to Chief Executive Tom Enders. But although Scherer has not been linked to the compliance investigations, industry sources said the board is insisting on a break with the past.

A final decision will be taken by the Airbus board based on a panel’s decision to put forward one name, that of Schulz.

Airbus and Rolls-Royce declined to comment. Schulz and Scherer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Leahy has been in the post since 1994 and is a dominant figure in the US$100 billion-a-year aerospace industry, making his succession one of the sector’s most closely watched moves.

He is expected to retire around January 25 after deferring his departure for several months when his hand-picked successor, deputy sales chief Kiran Rao, pulled out of the race.

Schulz, an affable 54-year-old French engineer, began his career at one of Airbus’s founders, France’s former state-owned Aerospatiale, before working at aerospace supplier Goodrich via a stint at two French airlines: UTA and Air Liberte.


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