“THE success of Airbus is intimately linked to the success of John,” says Eric Schulz, successor to John Leahy, who has been chief salesman for the planemaker since 1994. Mr Leahy’s aggressive strategy to gain orders expanded Airbus’s market share for civil jets from 18% in 1994 to over 50%. Salesmen at Boeing, Airbus’s rival, say they wish their bosses were as good. But this year’s Singapore Airshow, which began on February 6th, will be Mr Leahy’s last before retirement.
That is in itself a big change for Airbus, but staff turnover does not stop there. In December the firm said Tom Enders, its German-born chief executive, would step down in 2019; his French second-in-command, Fabrice Brégier, will leave this month. These changes follow the news that several countries, including Britain, France and America, are investigating allegations that in the past Airbus bribed officials to win contracts. That created divisions between French and German executives over how to respond.
The recent troubles began in 2014, when an internal review of supplier payments at Airbus exposed irregularities. It ended up reporting itself to Britain’s Serious Fraud Office and to France’s equivalent body for lying to export-credit agencies about bribes given by third-party consultants to secure sales. In October Airbus said it may have violated...Continue reading