PARIS – EADS has appointed Bernhard Gerwert to replace Stefan Zoller as chief executive of the Cassidian defense and security division effective immediately, the European aerospace group said Sept. 3.
Gerwert, who also joins the EADS executive committee, has been head of the air systems business unit and chief operating officer of the Cassidian division.
The air systems unit works on aerial unmanned vehicles, one of the key sectors for EADS. The sector is in competition with Dassault Aviation for an intermediate program award for the French Air Force for a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV.
Gerwert knows the defense and security business well, EADS Chief Executive Tom Enders said in the statement.
“His knowledge of the group as well as the defence and security business is second-to-none,” Enders said. “It is imperative that we focus our efforts on those areas where we can deliver consistent revenues with strong margins.
“Bernhard has repeatedly proven his outstanding managerial skills, his credibility and standing inside and outside the group is excellent. He not only has my full support but also that of the entire board of directors for this challenging job,” Enders said.
Zoller leaves EADS to “pursue new professional challenges,” the company said.
EADS teamed with General Atomics to pitch the Reaper UAV to the French Air Force, an offer to which Zoller had given scant support. Dassault partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries to offer the Heron TP air vehicle.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian froze a previous selection of the Heron TP and asked for a policy review for the intermediate UAV program. The result of that review is expected to have an impact on cooperation for a new generation Anglo-French MALE UAV.