Serge Dassault is to quit as chairman and chief executive of Dassault Aviation. His successor is Charles Edelstenne, the 62-year old accountant who is the company's executive vice-president of economic and financial affairs and chairman and chief executive of Dassault Systemes.

Serge Dassault, 75 on 4 April, was compelled to stand down by a clause in the company's constitution which says that nobody over 75 can hold a position at Dassault.

After he retires, Edelstenne says Dassault will "act as an adviser" - a position at one time occupied by Serge's father, Marcel. Serge Dassault continues to head Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault, the family's holding company, which controls 49.9% of Dassault Aviation, a position which will give him continuing extensive influence. Aerospatiale Matra holds 45.76%, and the remaining 4.34% is traded publicly.

Bruno Revellin-Falcoz becomes vice-chairman, moving up from his position as vice-president of engineering, technology, research and co-operation. The changes are expected to lead to a management restructure in early April.

Dassault Aviation posted sales of Fr18.9 billion ($2.8 billion) in 1999, down 6.3% on the previous year. The civil side, primarily business jets, accounted for 68% of income and military 32%. Net income last year was Fr1.14 billion, down from Fr1.35 billion.

• Jet fighter rival Saab saw military aerospace sales rise 18% to SKr5.38 billion ($626 million) in 1999, aided by the inclusion of avionics activities. Although Gripen sales also increased, high development costs for the export version saw divisional operating profit fall 17% to SKr523 million, the only reversal across the group. Space sector sales rose 11%, but those in commercial aircraft, being wound down, fell by 11%. The latter cut its losses to SKr2 million. Group income was up 10% and operating profit up 26%.

Source: Flight International