Airbus on Friday named services boss Philippe Mhun as its next head of programs. Photo: File

INTERNATIONAL - Airbus on Friday named services boss Philippe Mhun as its next head of programs, succeeding defense and commercial aerospace veteran Didier Evrard, who is scheduled to retire.

The move completes a tandem of top-level industrial changes at Europe’s largest aerospace group after Airbus last month hired Bosch appliances executive Michael Schoellhorn to replace soon-to-retire Chief Operating Officer Tom Williams.

Mhun, 56, is currently senior vice-president of services at Airbus - a fiercely competitive marketplace in which both Airbus and Boeing are targeting increases in revenue as they place after-market activities at the center of future developments.

He began his career in engineering at the now defunct French airline UTA and followed it into Air France when UTA was absorbed into the French national carrier in the early 1990s.

In July, Mhun confirmed plans for Airbus to triple revenue from commercial aircraft services - such as spare parts and predictive maintenance data - to $10 billion in the next decade.

Boeing has said its possible next development, a mid-market jet carrying 220-260 passengers, will allow it to speed up the introduction of digital design methods so that future services revenues are factored in from the earliest planning stage.

Sources said Mhun’s appointment will bring a customer perspective and an after-market emphasis to Airbus, which is also investing in digital tools to draw more business from the full life cycle of a jet, from design to retirement.

“It means that services will be driven deeply into programs,” a person familiar with the company said.

Evrard is credited with the execution of two of Europe’s most ambitious aerospace projects, the Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missile and A350 jetliner, with relatively few delays compared to past programs such as the A380 superjumbo.

He had been due to retire earlier in 2018 but agreed to stay until year end, along with Chief Operating Officer Tom Williams, in order to tackle recent industrial and supplier problems.

REUTERS