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EADS Names Hoppe Premium Aerotec CEO as Unit Reorganizes

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July 26 (Bloomberg) -- European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co.’s Premium Aerotec unit appointed Christoph Hoppe as chief executive officer as the plane-parts making business works on improvements that EADS’s Airbus division calls urgent.

Hoppe, 50, replaces CEO Kai Horten, who was dismissed in May. The executive, who is human resources director at EADS’s Cassidian defense unit, will take on the new role in September, Premium Aerotec said today in a statement.

EADS created Premium Aerotec out of three German factories that supply components to Airbus, the world’s second-biggest maker of commercial aircraft. The unit has had trouble meeting delivery commitments and quality standards, and must start making improvements immediately, Tom Williams, executive vice president for programs at Toulouse, France-based Airbus, said in an interview last month.

“The main task of the renewed and highly competent management team will be to further enhance Premium Aerotec’s high performance capabilities and to restore profitability,” Guenter Butschek, Airbus chief operating officer and head of the Premium Aerotec supervisory board, said in today’s statement.

EADS is bringing in new management to replace Horten and Premium Aerotec Chief Financial Officer Helmut Kretschmer, who left in May. Lars Kaestle, a comptroller at EADS, was appointed as Premium Aerotec CFO on July 1. EADS has set a target for the Augsburg, Germany-based plane-component business to reach positive free cash flow by 2015 as it undergoes an “intensifying” cost review.

French Parallel

Premium Aerotec was set up in 2009 after Airbus failed to find a buyer for two of its plants in Nordenham and Varel and the one in Augsburg. A parallel organization, called Aerolia, was created from Airbus’s plants in France. That entity has progressed further in its restructuring, Williams said.

“Setting clear targets, having the courage to make changes, teamwork and social dialogue are at the very top of my list of priorities,” Hoppe said in today’s statement.

EADS has said previously it would consider trying to sell Premium Aerotech and Aerolia once a production ramp-up of the twin-aisle A350 long-range airliner that first flew last month is assured. The A350 is due to be handed over to airlines starting next year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Rothman in Paris via aerothman@bloomberg.net; Robert Wall in London at rwall6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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