Airbus struggles to appoint finance chief ahead of CFO Assam’s departure in three weeks
Airbus is drawing up a stop-gap succession for the role of chief financial officer after struggling to appoint a permanent successor to Dominik Asam, who joins German software group SAP in under three weeks, industry sources said.
Barring a rapid breakthrough, the world’s largest plane maker may appoint an interim CFO after Asam steps down at the end of the month as previously announced, after presenting his last Airbus results on 16 February, they said. No decision has been taken.
Airbus declined to comment on management appointments. Shares in the European group rose 0.7 per cent in early trading in line with a slightly firmer European market.
Asam announced his surprise decision to leave the aerospace group last August, when he pledged to “work with the management to ensure a smooth transition with the next Airbus CFO”.
However, Airbus has so far not publicly identified a new CFO, prompting some analysts to express concern over the lack of certainty.
Although Airbus has moved on from years of in-fighting and open national rivalries for its top jobs, the passport of the new finance chief is unlikely to be ignored, the sources said.
The finance job has been held by a German since the modern version of the company was created from a politically-sensitive merger of French, German and Spanish assets under the name EADS in 2000. EADS was later absorbed by its Airbus unit.
Two of the sources said there was some pressure to keep the position in the hands of Germany, which is already outnumbered by France on the 12-person Airbus executive committee.
Airbus abolished national ownership of specific jobs in 2013, other than for some board positions linked to national security, but the CFO role is one of a handful of positions that remain widely associated with one of its core nations.
Airbus has repeatedly said nationalities no longer matter.
Asam joined Airbus in 2019 after having worked at German chip maker Infineon as finance chief since 2011.
Tim Hepher, Reuters