“Bear in the Pyrenees”, former Airbus CEO Jean Pearson dies

Paris — A former colleague said Thursday that Jean Pearson, the “Pyrenees bear” who had pushed the plane maker Airbus to the world stage and began to transform from a loose consortium to a European giant, died.

They said Pearson died Wednesday in France at the age of 80.

The Frenchman, the longest-serving CEO of Airbus from 1985 to 1998, entered the Boeing domestic market in the United States and kicked off one of the world’s largest business rivals. It has been.

“He was a great personality and leader. He brought Airbus from the startup and faced Boeing directly,” he said.

Growing up outside a narrow, educated circle in Paris that dominates French industry, Pearson, a tough and greedy deal maker, roams the factory floor and, despite the management’s first alert, the sales team. I advised him to take on Boeing at home.

In 1997, he placed a groundbreaking order for 400 jets from US Airways and dropped his pants in protest of a last-minute discount request. This tactic was first described in the 2007 book Boeing vs Airbus.

On another occasion, Pearson told Reuters that he could strip off his shirt and tell the tenacious airline boss that the garment could be put into a big deal.

“He was a moving leader. He didn’t care about salaries, he only cares about Airbus people and success,” said Mohammed El, president of Reliance Aerospace and a former employee of Pearson. Borai says.

Nicknamed the “Bear of the Pyrenees,” a moody steak-loving businessman, Bon Vivant gambling has shaped an industry where success or failure is measured in decades.

He strongly supported the A380 Super Jumbo. The Super Jumbo is on the market and its final delivery is imminent in just 14 years. But he accurately predicted that the A400M military aircraft would cause problems for private manufacturers at the time. We won the second export order for the first time in 16 years and lost a huge amount of money.

“Liar club”

“He knew how to build an airplane and knew he couldn’t be a small player to succeed in duopoly,” uncompromising American John Leehee told Europeans by Pearson. I was promoted and did the job of sales chief. 20 years.

Pearson fought for the future A320 cash cow and threw an aide from his office who proposed another cockpit to his sister A321, Lee Hee said. The One Cockpit Strategy has set the stage for A321 sales to support the interests of today’s new management team.

Pearson was “a great humanist behind the front of the bear,” said Christian Scheller, the current Chief Commercial Officer.

Founded in 1969 as a venture between industrial groups in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, Airbus continued to steal the Boeing crown as the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer.

Importantly, former aide says Pearson started a long process of integration by declaring the former consortium obsolete.

Pearson, a veteran of the shareholders’ meeting known internally as the “liar club”, campaigned for Airbus to become a single company, as partners tended to disguise costs.

Rather than buying jets from shareholders and selling and supporting them abroad, Airbus will need more control.

After retiring to a fishing vessel, Pearson barely appeared after more than a decade of fighting under a new partner, but broke silence in 2007, warning that France and Germany would fail to share electricity. Did.

Each country remains a shareholder, but the idea was abandoned in 2013.

Tim Heffer