Airbus faces tensions over Spanish board appointment

The Airbus group fears tension with the choice of a former IBM executive over the Spanish goverments choice of Belen Romana.

Airbus faces tensions over Spanish board appointment

World Bulletin / News Desk

Airbus Group faces a tussle with the Spanish government over the choice of a new board member at its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, in a new test of efforts by Europe's largest aerospace company to assert political independence.

Airbus Group, whose shareholders include the Spanish, French and German governments, will ask shareholders to approve the appointment of former IBM executive Maria Amparo Moraleda Martinez to replace Josep Pique i Camps, who is standing down.

But the Spanish government has written to the company putting forward the name of Belen Romana, former head of Sareb or Spain's 'bad bank,' company officials said.

While Airbus maintains a board slot for Spain, the Madrid government no longer has the right to directly appoint its board representative, who is now designated as an independent under corporate governance changes negotiated in 2012.

But the debate could strain relations between Airbus and Madrid during a sensitive time for the troubled A400M military aircraft project, which is based in Seville.

It could also put France and Germany on the spot to decide whether to support Spain's request under an understanding between state shareholders to safeguard each other's interests.

Airbus sparred with Paris over the choice of chairperson in 2013, with the French government's candidate Anne Lauvergeon eventually settling for a board seat as a guardian of French defence interests. Spain does not have an equivalent role.

Amparo Moraleda was nominated after Airbus Group brought in head-hunters, in an effort to mark a visible break with a previous system of political appointments.

Spain owns 4.1 percent of Airbus Group through state holding company SEPI.

Madrid, which has long sought to improve its status in Airbus, is seen as anxious to maintain a strong footing in the company through a board member enjoying government confidence. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Mayıs 2015, 10:37