July 17–THE boss of Airbus in the UK is leaving the company and his role is being scrapped.
Airbus UK president Paul Kahn, 51, is going as part of a group-wide restructuring that will see more than 1,000 positions cut.
The multinational European aircraft maker will no longer have a UK president but has created the lesser role of UK senior vice-president.
The move has raised fears about the UK division’s strength at a critical time for the company, which employs about 10,000 people in this country. One industry expert said: ‘The president’s role was to speak up for the UK division, and that’s being restructured out.
‘I think it’s a sign of reduced British influence in the group.’
Kahn joined the company in 2014, replacing Robin Southwell, in what was due to be a far longer term role. The respected figure has overseen new aircraft and the troubled A400M Atlas entering full service with the Royal Air Force, as well as stricter compliance systems.
The former executive at French defence group Thales is expected to continue as a business ambassador for the UK Government and as president of industry body ADS Group.
It is understood that he has left Airbus by mutual agreement.
Airbus UK makes wings for the planes that the company sells to major airlines around the world, including British Airways and Emirates. Around 6,000 of its 10,000 British employees are in Broughton, North Wales, from where wings are shipped to Toulouse, France, for final assembly.
In November the company announced its plans to cut 1,164 positions from its global workforce of 136,000 as it restructures its aircraft, defence and space businesses to save costs.
But this is also seen by some as an effort to centralise control in its Toulouse headquarters.
The company has repeatedly warned about the risk from Brexit. Chief executive Tom Enders said just last month that Airbus’s UK plants were among its most competitive and warned…