EADS prepares for new chairman

Airbus parent EADS paved the way to getting its first independent chairman yesterday, as it put finishing touches to proposals for a new board to be led by the former head of French defence group Thales, people familiar with the matter said. Denis Ranque, 61, was contacted about the plan while still sailing in the Atlantic, setting in motion his probable return to power almost four years after he fell victim to a boardroom coup at Thales. The company, whose merger with BAE Systems fell through last year, declined to comment.