Airbus Group has appointed Dirk Hoke (46 - pictured)) to succeed Bernhard Gerwert (62) as CEO of Airbus Defence and Space (DS) as of 1 April 2016.
Dirk Hoke, who has no aerospace experience, was until recently CEO of the Large Drives business unit at Siemens AG. He will join Airbus Group on 1 January 2016 as deputy to Bernhard Gerwert. Between January and March next year, Hoke is expected to familiarise himself with Airbus Group and the Defence and Space business in particular.
During this time, Bernhard Gerwert will continue to lead Airbus DS as CEO. As of 1 April 2016, Dirk Hoke will take over the operational lead and become CEO of Airbus DS, as well as member of the Group Executive Committee. Bernhard Gerwert will then support Dirk Hoke and Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders as a senior advisor at least until June 2016.
“Bernhard Gerwert intends to retire mid-2016, a plan he discussed with me already more than two years ago and which I have accepted,” said Tom Enders. “Bernhard has been working in the aerospace industry for 36 years throughout which he excelled in many positions, culminating in his chief executive role at Airbus DS since 2013. Under his leadership, Defence and Space were merged and successfully restructured, with a clear focus on core business, Military Aircraft and Space.”
Airbus Defence and Space restructure was formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military – a move completed in July 2014. It employs some 40,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €14 billion per year. It currently comprises of four main areas:
• Military aircraft
• Space systems
• Communications, intelligence & security: including satellite comms; border security; C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance); secure land communications (PMR networks and terminals and control centres); geo-intelligence; and cyber security
• Electronics: radars; optronics; electronic warfare systems and sensors; space platform electronics; space payload electronics; and avionics.
However, Hoke is expected to take over a slimmed down division as in September 2014, Airbus announced it was selling some of the above business units to concentrate on warplanes, missiles, launchers and military satellites.
The proposed sale includes Airbus’ PMR and commercial satellite communications services activities, which the company believes ‘will have a better chances for growth and market success in different ownership structures’.
No buyer has been announced yet, although ‘Summer 2015’ was originally indicated as a probable time for the sale.
Enders added: “I am pleased that we found an excellent successor to Bernhard in Dirk Hoke; a man with a very remarkable track record of building and growing businesses throughout four continents; a man with strong experience in high-tech industries, engineering and project management, value-added services and digitalisation. In short, a manager well equipped for a world and business environment that is ever more accelerating in various dimensions.”
Hoke holds a mechanical engineering degree from the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany. In 1994, he began his professional career in the automotive industry at Renault in Paris.
In 1996, he joined Siemens AG where he occupied various management posts over the last 18 years, including international assignments in Argentina, Austria, China, Morocco, the US as well as leading Siemens’ entire Africa activities, based out of Casablanca and Johannesburg.
Much of his professional focus at Siemens has been on transportation systems, including building the Maglev Train in Shanghai and making Siemens the largest foreign railway supplier in China.
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