Airbus's highly-regarded veteran sales chief, John Leahy, is to be succeeded by Rolls-Royce civil aerospace president Eric Schulz next year.

Schulz will join Airbus at the end of January 2018. He will be formally the chief of sales, marketing and contracts for Airbus's commercial aircraft division.

Leahy, the chief operating officer for customers, is retiring from Airbus after more than 32 years. He will stay on during a "short" transition period lasting a few months, the airframer says.

Airbus credits Leahy – whose dry humour and outspoken nature made him a strong draw during press briefings – with overseeing sales of more than 16,000 aircraft.

The airframer describes him as a "living legend", with chief executive Tom Enders stating: "His contribution to Airbus's commercial aircraft business is epic.

"His relentless efforts, his vision and his dedication were key factors in propelling the company from an industry underdog to a world leader."

Schulz has been the president of civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce since the beginning of last year. He formerly led the large civil engines activities at the manufacturer.

His career has also included senior roles at French carriers Air France, AOM and Air Liberte, as well as industrial companies such as Goodrich.

Enders says Schulz has a "deep understanding" of airline operations and engines and a "proven track record" in leading organisations in "complex environments".

Source: Cirium Dashboard