Gallois seeks to cool EADS shareholding debate

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EADS chief executive Louis Gallois moved today to cool down a simmering debate about the company's management and shareholding structure, and its susceptibility to meddling by Paris and Berlin, by stressing that it is "normal" for governments to push for jobs and investment.

Speaking in Paris to detail EADS' annual results - for the last time before retiring in June and handing over to current Airbus boss Tom Enders - Gallois added that "lots of countries" - and not just France and Germany, which each own 22.5% of the company - regularly urge EADS to invest in their region.

Addressing a question about a recent letter to Enders from Germany's deputy economics minister Peter Hintze, who called for a rebalancing of what he sees as an increasingly French bias in EADS management, Gallois reiterated his longstanding position that such matters were internal questions for a listed company and don't belong in the political sphere.

And, said Gallois, the France-Germany balance within EADS "has been respected" over time but, he added: "It's a broad balance. We're not counting beans."