Tim Ripley/DUBAI

Avoiding the mistakes committed during the consolidation of the US defence and aerospace industry is top of the agenda in the looming British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems merger.

Sir Charles Masefield, heading the Marconi delegation at Dubai 2000, declares that "we are absolutely certain we are going to avoid the pitfalls and traps - we have designed a radical organisational structure for the new company.

"We have an advantage in going second. No one in the company has any doubt about the major challenges ahead. We are very focussed."

Sir Charles, who has already been appointed marketing supremo in the new merged company, says a management matrix has been designed to focus on programmes, business operations, internal functions and managing the merger itself. "It is a tough job. I am confident this will set a model that others will follow - that is why New BAe will be different."

Sir Charles says the company is watching with interest the formation of the Franco-German European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) but is not set to join. "Our current focus in Europe is around our joint ventures. The main ones are Matra BAe Dynamics, Alenia Marconi Systems, Matra Marconi Space and Thomson Marconi Sonar.

"In some ways merger simplifies the situation, with MBD and MMS."

"If you put the current sales of BAe and Marconi together in the Middle East it represents 35% of total worldwide sales. When we come together we will provide one-stop shopping for total systems integration. This is the secret of the future not products, or systems, but selling total integrated solutions."

Sir Charles would not be drawn on the new company's name. "The really important thing is the brand image. This drives the corporate profile. The name is a significant part of product branding but the name itself is not the important thing. It must not contain either the words 'British' or 'aerospace'.

"We are global, not British. We are definitely not just an aerospace company; we also built nuclear submarines, frigates and howitzers.

"Provided it is simple and properly branded people will identify with it."

Source: Flight Daily News