In October, German government officials blocked the merger of defense giants EADS and BAE Systems. The merger was a key part of EADS CEO Thomas Enders' strategy to rebalance the company's portfolio. In a SPIEGEL interview, Enders explains how the pan-European firm is picking up the pieces.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Enders, were you approached over the past few weeks by headhunters? If so, did they offer you any interesting jobs?
Enders: No, why do you ask?
SPIEGEL: After your plans fell through for the merger of EADS with its British competitor BAE Systems, you were generally seen as the loser. Do you feel like your days as the boss are numbered?
Enders: Not at all. I realized right from the start that we were taking a considerable risk with this project, but it was worthwhile. It's too bad that things didn't work out. The deal would have undoubtedly strengthened the European industry.
SPIEGEL: Have you considered throwing in the towel?
Enders: I told my supervisory board, of course, that I take responsibility for the failure. But the board, which had fully supported the merger, urged me to continue with my work. And then the next interesting challenge immediately followed, namely the question of how we pave the way for our long-standing core shareholders, Germany's Daimler and France's Lagardère, to exit the company in a way that is acceptable to everyone and, at the same time, reform our management structure? In December, we managed to make a breakthrough with an agreement that we wouldn't have thought possible last summer.
SPIEGEL: For the time being, though, your plan has gone all to pieces and you have annoyed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opposed the deal right from the start.
Enders: As we say in Germany, shards bring good luck! But the irony of the story is that without the merger debate during the summer, we would have never managed in early December to dissolve the pact among our core shareholders, eliminate the veto rights (effectively enjoyed by the governments of France and Germany over the past decade) or achieve the withdrawal of these countries from management decisions. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Spiegel Online website.