Airbus SE poached the chief financial officer from German chipmaker Infineon Technologies AG, filling a major vacancy in its top ranks following an unprecedented wave of departures in the past year.
Dominik Asam will take over the finance position in April when Harald Wilhelm moves on, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Airbus also announced the appointment of a new chief operating officer at its main planemaking unit, with Michael Schollhorn taking over from retiring Tom Williams, 66.
Airbus has witnessed a major management drain in recent months, with Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders and Fabrice Bregier, the head of the planemaking unit, leaving along with others. Asam, a German national, will work alongside Frenchman Guillaume Faury, who will succeed Enders next year, maintaining a Franco-German balance of nationalities that’s closely guarded by the governments, the two main shareholders.
The moves shore up a management team that’s been roiled by bribery investigations still ongoing after several years and a series of overdue retirements. Asam, 52, has been Infineon’s CFO since 2011 and was the architect behind a run of acquisitions. He has held roles at RWE AG and Siemens AG after starting his career at the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. He had renewed his contract at the chipmaker only in March by another five years.
“He has an outstanding professional background and he will, no doubt, be a great wingman for Guillaume Faury, who will succeed me at the helm of Airbus next spring,” Enders said in a statement.
Airbus rose as much as 1 percent to 91.98 euros, while Infineon rose as much as 1.9 percent.
The appointments cap three months of fresh manager appointments, starting with a new Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer and later the confirmation of Faury as the group’s next CEO. The new top brass will be tasked with guiding Airbus through a critical decade as it manages the investigations by U.K. and French fraud offices, while leading a ramp-up in aircraft production to meet record order backlogs.
The CFO position at Airbus has typically been a key strategic role that requires the control of large outlays in funding for new programs and managing the launch aid granted by the group’s home nations. A decision on the future of Airbus’s struggling A380, which Wilhelm had come close to scrapping, could fall to Asam as he weighs the viability of the superjumbo.
The new executive will move from one of the world’s fastest-moving industries to arguably one of the longest-cycle products, with new aircraft programs taking as long as a decade from conception to first flight and many aircraft remaining in service even longer.
New COO Schollhorn, 53, will join the group’s biggest unit from Munich-based BSH Home Appliances GmbH on December 30 succeeding Williams who has spent 50 years in the aerospace industry. The company is still due to announce a replacement for Didier Evrard, head of programs, who also postponed his retirement earlier this year.