ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
These are difficult days at the European airplane maker Airbus. Its chief executive resigned yesterday after a dispute with the board of directors.
As NPR's Rob Gifford reports, his plan to cut costs ignited some of the international rivalries within the company.
ROB GIFFORD: Airbus was once a European success story, but it's been struggling over the last year. It stunned investors in June by saying its new 555 seat A380 plane would be delayed in production by a year. The June announcement led to the ouster of the previous head of Airbus, who was replaced by Christian Streiff. Then, just this month, Airbus announced production delays would be even longer. And now, just three months into the job, Streiff himself has resigned.
The problems in rolling out the super jumbo have been blamed on Airbus's corporate structure. It was formed by a group of European companies, and insiders say the lines have been blurred as to who should report to whom. Christian Streiff, a Frenchman, had also unnerved German politicians and unions by suggesting that work on the new A380 be transferred to France from Germany.
Streiff has been replaced by Louis Gallois, another Frenchman, but one who enjoys better relations with the Germans. He immediately warned there were likely to be painful job losses as the company restructures. Airbus's problems have in recent months caused the company to fall further behind its main rival, Boeing. To date this year, Boeing has taken three times as many orders as Airbus.
Rob Gifford, NPR News, London.
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