Airbus, the European airframe maker has been on the lookout for a new person to head commercial airplane sales for them for a while. This was necessary since, after 33 years, John Leahy, the super salesman of Airbus and the head of commercial airplane sales will retire at the end of this year.
Airbus has tapped Eric Schulz, a top executive at Rolls Royce, the engine maker, to head the department as Executive Vice President for sales, marketing and contracts after Leahy leaves the building end of this year. He will to Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders.
John Leahy, the sales boss at Airbus since 1994, joined Airbus in 1985, at a time when they had sold less than 400 planes, and under him, Airbus gained market share from Boeing to make it a duopoly for airframes. He and his team sold over 17,000 airplanes under his watch, which is more than 90% of all planes ever sold by Airbus commercial. He is considered a legend in the aviation industry for what he has managed to do. Heck, he even swung a surprise deal for a $50 billion order at the Dubai Airshow as his parting gift to the company.
No surprise then, that these were big shoes to fill for anybody.Eric Schulz will come on board during January 2018, and John Leahy will be around to show him the ropes. Airbus is not doing a new thing bringing in an executive from an engine-maker. Last year, Boeing tapped Kevin McAllister from General Electric Aviation to run their commercial airplane business.
All I can say is I am excited about this new era at Airbus, and here is hoping John Leahy gets some much-needed rest after this long tenure