Airbus Group UK appoints Paul Kahn as president from 1st October 2014

  • Following more than nine years in the role Robin Southwell is to step down from his position as President of Airbus Group UK from end September 2014.
  • Paul Kahn appointed President of Airbus Group UK from 1 October 2014

LONDON, UK, 25-9-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — After nearly a decade at the helm of Airbus Group UK (formerly EADS UK), Robin Southwell, OBE, (54) has decided to stand down to pursue new business opportunities outside the Group. The company has appointed Paul Kahn (48), previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Thales Canada, as his replacement.

Appointed in 2005, Robin Southwell has overseen a period of significant change and growth in the Group’s operations in the UK, culminating in the restructuring under the single Airbus Group brand. He has been responsible for developing Airbus Group’s UK strategic position, and its relationships with the UK Government, armed forces and industry. His tenure has seen the award of the FSTA tanker programme to the Airbus-led AirTanker consortium, the entry into service of the A380 superjumbo and significant influence on many programmes including the A400M, and the strengthening of Airbus Group UK’s position in the space and helicopter sectors. Between 2011 and 2013 he was also President of the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space trade organisation, ADS Group. In both roles he has played an important part in the conception and launch of the combined government and industry initiatives, the Aerospace Growth Partnership and subsequently the Defence Growth Partnership, aimed at strengthening the UK’s position and performance in these industries.

Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, commented: “Robin has been instrumental in establishing first EADS, and now Airbus Group, as a strategic asset in the eyes of the UK government, as well as being a major contributor to the UK economy. In doing so, he has also helped shape the UK Government’s industrial strategy for the UK’s aerospace sector. As President of ADS (the UK trade body) Robin has been a great cheerleader for UK technology and advanced manufacturing, and has achieved much in this role. Airbus Group has been fortunate to have him leading our team in UK and his blend of knowledge, strategic insight and humour will be sorely missed. On behalf of the board of Airbus Group I would like to pay tribute to everything he has achieved over many years and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours.”

Paul Kahn, the incoming President of Airbus Group UK, is a chartered engineer whose previous appointment was President and Chief Executive Officer of Thales, Canada. He has held a variety of senior business unit and corporate positions in Thales. Prior to this he worked for the Ford Motor Company in Europe and the United States, and then for the UK Ministry of Defence, where he led one of the major reviews of procurement processes before moving back into the private sector.

Marwan Lahoud, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer of Airbus Group, added: “I echo Tom Enders’ praise of Robin and I would also like to welcome Paul Kahn to our company. Paul comes from Thales with a strong track record and an ambition to develop Airbus Group in the UK to the next level. The company is a key strategic partner to the government and is committed to the UK where its world beating technology is a key part of our highly skilled industrial base. These are exciting times and Paul’s vision and leadership will be critical in maintaining the Group on its upward flight path.”

About Airbus Group
Airbus Group is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2013, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space and Airbus Helicopters – generated revenues of € 57.6 billion (restated) and employed a workforce of around 139,000 (restated).

Airbus Group in the UK
Airbus Group in the UK has a highly skilled workforce of 17,000 people with ten times this figure in its supply chain amongst c.4000 British companies. The Group has a UK turnover of c.£2.5 billion per annum. It is the UK’s largest civil aerospace company and exporter, its biggest space and satellite company, as well as being the UK’s civil helicopter hub. In 2014 Airbus Group became the biggest supplier of aircraft to the Royal Air Force. All this is supported by a long-term strategy of investment in R&D and skills. The Group collaborates with 20 UK universities and spends half a billion pounds per year in UK-based R&D. Approximately 100 apprentices start with the company each year, with more than 4000 apprenticeships completed in the past decade.

Note to Editors:

Paul Kahn is an engineering graduate from Brunel University. He is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, holds an MBA from London Business School, and attended The Royal College of Defence Studies. Mr Kahn possesses dual British and American nationality.


Jeremy Greaves
UK media relations
+44 7887 506 338


Paul Kahn (c) Airbus Group

Paul Kahn (c) Airbus Group


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