EADS Internal Corporate Strife Spills Over (updated)
Defence-Aerospace.com carries a Deutsche Welle radio report covering tensions within EADS’ corporate structure in the wake of a delays in the A380 super-jumbo passenger jet, uncertainty around the A350 as Boeing’s 777 and 787 snap up market share, BAE’s divestment of its 20% holdings, and a recent 25% plunge in share prices. French co-CEO Noel Forgeard apparently sold large numbers of EADS shares about a month before the superjumbo problems were revealed, which has triggered a class action lawsuit from France’s Association of Active Shareholders (AAA).
Nor is that the end of EADS’ troubles. Not by a long shot.
The CEO position is presently shared between Foregard and German co-CEO Thomas Enders following a long and difficult set of Franco-German negotiations, which means there will be stability issues if Foregard’s conduct forces EADS to remove him. Meanwhile, French Premier Dominique de Villepin is displaying his diplomatic skills, tact, and sense of timing by publicly challenging EADS split Franco-German governance structure. Defence-Aerospace.com has more.
They also have an perceptive op/ed by Giovanni de Briganti that concudes:
“Beyond all the other issues now being discussed, the main question that must be answered is whether EADS should be a holding or an operating company. All remedial actions now being debated, including a mooted reorganisation and a possible merger between EADS and Airbus, can only be decided once shareholders have answered this essential question.”
This is certainly a foundational issue for EADS to consider. Even if a holding company was the logical strategic choice for EADS, one is forced to ask whether a political mission and politicized governance structure could ever deliver it?