PARIS Jan 26 The former head of the
European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, was nominated to the
board of EADS on Thursday as the Franco-German-led
group approved a long-awaited reshuffle that will see Airbus
chief Tom Enders become chief executive.
The arrival of one of Europe's key architects, credited with
building an armour of credibility around the region's single
currency, underscores how EADS remains a key industrial pillar
of the French-German relationship at the heart of Europe.
But it could lead to a clash of perspectives after EADS
leaders openly challenged the euro's strength in recent years
and urged monetary authorities to pay more heed to exporters.
Airbus benefits from a strong dollar in which it sells jets.
EADS has been roiled in the past by Franco-German tensions
over a company that employs 100,000 people and combines
politically sensitive defence and industrial interests, but has
gone through a calmer period under outgoing CEO Louis Gallois.
It was set up in 2000 through a merger of French, German and
Spanish interests arching across the public and private sectors
and its top appointments remain politically sensitive.
Enders, 53, will replace veteran French CEO Louis Gallois
who turned 68 on Thursday and who will step down when his job
expires at the end of May, EADS said after a board meeting.
Arnaud Lagardere, head of French media group Lagaradere,
will become chairman and Airbus number two Fabrice Bregier will
become boss of the world's largest civil planemaker.
The appointments follow a pattern set out in a deal between
French and German leaders in 2007 after Airbus production delays
caused a rift between the euro zone's largest economies.
The moves were delayed a month following a last-minute bid
by French representatives to grab two further posts including
that of the finance director, people close to the matter said.
That job will instead go to Enders' top finance aide, fellow
German Harald Wilhelm, who will also retain his role as finance
director of Airbus.
EADS finance director Hans Peter Ring has decided to retire
and remain an adviser until the end of 2012.
The company had postponed a decision on succession in
December amid the last-minute manoeuvres.
Lagardere owns 7.5 percent, the French government owns 15
percent and Germany's Daimler owns 22.5 percent.
The German government has agreed to buy 7.5 percent from
Daimler in a move publicly opposed by Enders, who has called for
reduced state involvement in Europe's largest aerospace firm.