Airbus Chief Resigns, Replaced By EADS Co-Chief Executive

Steps down after just 100 days in office.

Airbus chief executive Christian Streiff has resigned and has been replaced by Louis Gallois, co-chief executive at parent company EADS, the aerospace group said Oct. 9. Gallois will retain his post at the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company, it said in a statement.

Despite Streiff's departure, which came exactly 100 days after his appointment, EADS said it fully backed his re-organization plan for Airbus, currently struggling to overcome delays to its A380 superjumbo program.

Under the current arrangement at EADS, which is controlled by French and German interests, the head of Airbus reports to the German co-chief executive at EADS. A German chief executive at Airbus would report to his French counterpart at EADS.

Streiff was tapped in July to turn Airbus around after delivery delays emerged in the critical A380 program, the lynchpin in Airbus efforts to catch up with bitter rival Boeing. But he was never comfortable in his relationship with EADS and, in drafting his resignation letter last week, demanded greater autonomy for Airbus.

Streiff's plan to revitalize Airbus --dubbed Power8 -- calls for cost reductions worth 2.0 billion euros (US2.6 billion) job cuts and a sweeping re-organization that would re-distribute operation among European production sites. The EADS board also said Oct. 9 it would "take a decision on the A350 XWB in the coming weeks." Development of the mid-size long-haul carrier was called into question last week by Thomas Enders, the German co-chief executive at EADS, in light of the current difficulties at Airbus.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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