Dassault Aviation boss Charles Edelstenne is to retire in January, the maker of Falcon business jets and Rafale fighters has confirmed. Edelstenne's departure comes as he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75.

No replacement has been announced, but the succession is one of the most widely-followed personnel moves in France; not only is Dassault a key defence contractor but group boss Marcel Dassault and, indeed, Edelstenne are among the most influential - and wealthiest - men in the country.

Names in the frame include Dassault executives Eric Trappier, who has been instrumental in negotiating the sale of Rafale fighters to India, and Bernard Charles, who heads the enormously successful Dassault Systèmes business and whose 3D software has been instrumental in the design of Boeing aircraft, including the 777 and 787.

Source: Flight International