One of the perils of writing for a weekly print publication is that events – rather irritatingly – have a habit of moving on between going to press on Friday and the issue appearing early the following week. So it was this week, when we penned a leader on why No︺ Forgeard could not stay on as co-chief executive of EADS on Friday afternoon, only to have him eventually quit on Sunday.
Okay, at least our leader got it right, in that we said that “anything less than Forgeard’s resignation or sacking would be an insult” before Farnborough. But EADS has got it wrong – in my view – by missing the opportunity to jump straight away to a single chief executive structure, with German Tom Enders at the helm.
A press release has just arrived from Enders and his new French co-CEO, Louis Gallois which is incredibly contrite. After weeks of Airbus, EADS and Forgeard trying to brazen out what started as a programme delay (albeit a very serious one) and ended up a full blown corporate crisis, this humble attitude is refreshing. At least the EADS and Airbus teams can go into Farnborough in two weeks’ time having purged the organisations of the individuals seen to carry the most blame for the debacle. But - with angry shareholders at both EADS and BAE Systems and equally angry A380 customers – they shouldn’t expect anything less than a turbulent ride.