CGC Stock – Shake-up at Airbus as defence and technology chiefs quit
PARIS (Reuters) -Airbus announced on Monday the biggest shake-up in its top ranks since Chief Executive Guillaume Faury took the helm two years ago, sparked by the departure of two key executives.
Dirk Hoke, head of the Defence & Space division, and Chief Technology Office Grazia Vittadini will both step down on July 1, the company said in a statement.
Hoke, who has been leading efforts to co-develop a European fighter with France’s Dassault Aviation, will be replaced in the top defence spot by production chief Michael Schoellhorn, whose role as chief operating officer will be filled by military aircraft boss Alberto Gutierrez.
Hoke and Vittadini are both leaving to pursue opportunities outside the aerospace group, Airbus said without elaborating.
The move comes days after Airbus and Dassault Aviation were reported to have reached a key agreement after weeks of tense discussions over the share of work on the Future Combat Air System – a Franco-German-Spanish fighter project.
One person familiar with the matter said Hoke, an ex-autos executive once considered a possible future CEO, had been in discussions over his departure for some months.
Airbus is also merging technology and engineering as a result of a cascade of changes resulting from the departures.
The military aircraft unit will now be run by Jean-Brice Dumont whose current job as head of engineering will be merged with Vittadini’s technology role under a single new engineering boss, Sabine Klauke, who steps up from defence.
Previously, engineering functions had been split between two positions on the top management committee, leading to what several sources had described as turf battles over resources.
Airbus said the shake-up would lead to “deeper collaboration” between its functions.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher, Sabine Siebold. Editing by David Evans and Mark Potter)