This is not an easy time to be Tom Enders. Just months into his tenure as EADS chief executive, this titan of European industry has had his dreams of reshaping the continent's aerospace landscape dashed by political interference in a sensitive industry.
Before EADS's creation a decade ago, Enders was in management at DASA, the Daimler aerospace business that ultimately became Germany's contribution to EADS. His experience of the intervening years included a stint as co-chief executive when Paris and Berlin still insisted on lumbering EADS with a dual management structure that split all key jobs between a German and a French appointee. Not surprisingly, this experience has left him determined to end the meddling in EADS management by Berlin and Paris that comes with their nearly 50% effective control of the shares and the legacy of nationalised industry. The BAE merger was designed to address some very real competitive issues, but in large part it was a means to create a normal, shareholder-controlled company.
The commercial logic behind the deal may not have been compelling enough to convince the politicians to let go, but the failure of the deal is regrettable all the same. For the sake of all EADS stakeholders, who would be best served by a strong, globally competitive Europe-rooted company, it must be hoped that Enders' dream has not died along with this particular deal.
(This first appeared as the second leading article in Flight International 16 October)