Thursday, October 22, 2009

EADS installs ex-Nasa chief, Sean O'Keefe, as CEO North America news

European aerospace and defence group, EADS, owner of Airbus, has appointed Sean O'Keefe, a former head of NASA, as chief executive of its North American business. O'Keefe, 53, replaces Ralph Crosby, 62, who becomes chairman of the North American board and will continue to "oversee" the US Air Force tanker contest.

EADS, in partnership with US defence giant Northrop Grumman, is competing against Boeing for a contract to replace the US Air Force's ageing fleet of air-refuelling tankers.

The contract is potentially worth up to $40 billion.

Crosby will continue with EADS North America in order to ensure a smooth transition, EADS said.

O'Keefe was the NASA administrator from 2001 to 2005 and also served as Navy Secretary and Pentagon comptroller during the first Bush administration.

EADS chief executive Louis Gallois said at a press conference in Washington that O'Keefe will be charged with expanding business with the Pentagon and Homeland Security Department, as well as guiding the company into space and related areas.

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