Airbus poaches Rolls-Royce executive to head up sales division

  • Airbus looks to Rolls-Royce executive to head its sales division
  • The current sales boss, John Leahy, retires after 33 years at Airbus
  • 54-year-old Eric Schulz takes over at a time when rival Boeing has enjoyed order success
Eric Schulz, chief of sales, marketing & contracts for Airbus' commercial aircraft business.
Source: Airbus
Eric Schulz, chief of sales, marketing & contracts for Airbus' commercial aircraft business.

Airbus has named the executive to take over as its new sales chief once long-serving John Leahy steps down in April next year.

Eric Schulz will join the aircraft manufacturer after leaving Rolls-Royce, where he currently serves as president of civil aerospace, in January. He has been with Rolls-Royce in a number of senior positions since 2010.

At the open of trade Tuesday, shares in Airbus fell but quickly recovered all losses.

Schulz will report to Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders, who said in a press release that his new sales boss held "a deep understanding of airline operations and aero engines."

Despite a mammoth order for its A320 family of airplanes at the recent Dubai Airshow, Airbus has struggled to keep pace with rival Boeing's new orders during 2017.

In his statement, Enders added that that Schulz was the right pick "at a critical juncture of our company's development."

Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy
ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images
Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy

John Leahy retires after 33 years of selling airplanes for Airbus. The company said he had overseen the sales of 16,000 aircraft, equating to 90 percent of all of the company's orders.

Describing him as a personal friend, Enders said Leahy had shown unwavering loyalty to the European plane manufacturer.

"His contribution to Airbus' commercial aircraft business is epic. I have never seen John give up on anything," Enders said.