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DWC
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LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:31 pm

I hold John Leahy as a visionnary "biznessman" ( french spelling ).
It is he - not a European, who believed Airbus could go from 18% marketshare in 1994 to 50% by year 2000, which was reached a year before in 1999. When summoned to an Airbus board meeting at in 1994 or 1995, he explained that below 20% an OEM was nothing & that even 20-40% remained a dangerous position vs. any rival, so Airbus had to grow above 40%. AB board members, including Louis Gallois - then Airbus president, didn't find him the least realistic & offered if 25-30% wouldn't be the target to aim for. Surviving a dozen European CEOs & CCOs, Airbus wouldn't have known this insolent growth ( from a US point of view ) & would certainly not be what it is today without this New Yorker & his visionary boss Jean Pierson who hired him & believed in his "mercenaire".

In fact, Jean Pierson & John Leahy are the ticket credited for launching & selling the A380 to airlines worldwide. JL is also known for coming up with "creative deals", travelling over 200 days a year, to the point Boeing was tracking him worldwide to see what airline we was talking to. I read somewhere that JL did not go for every campaign, mindful of not going much beyond 50-52% market share so as not to trigger too much retaliations from either Boeing or the US government.
Yesterday, Leeham released this article, some interesting information ( like Boeing's exclusive deals with the US3 )

Leahy reflects on 33 years at Airbus

“The 310s probably kept Pan Am alive longer than they would have stayed alive otherwise,” Leahy said. “At least they could fly internationally across the Atlantic with less than half the operating costs of those old 747-100s.”

“That was probably about the beginning of 1994, or late 1993, right when I was beginning to move over here [Toulouse]. I was in a state of shock. I remember [American Airlines officer Gerard] Arpey called me up and said, ‘John, you better think of something to do. Bob’s sitting there with Ron Woodard, who was running Boeing [Commercial] at the time, and they’re cooking up something that’s going to keep you out of competition until both you and I are long retired.”
Deal ruled illegal, but honored
The European Union had to review the merger between Boeing and McDonnell Douglas three years later and found the agreements to be illegal. Boeing agreed to abrogate the agreements, but one CEO—Crandall—years later acknowledged he did a side letter agreeing to honor the terms. It’s likely the other airlines did, too.

This article is also full of interesting anecdotes :



So I have 5 questions :
1. Why is he not a European citizen by now ? ( fact is he does not speak a word of French or German )
2. Why did Boeing not head hunt him ? ( JL stated Boeing never came for him )
3. More importantly : as a genius, he sees farther than most. He pulled the A380 bunny to all major airlines & most bought it. I deem the A380 idea was globally correct at launch time. But things have changed dramatically since 2001, as already discussed. So the million dollar question is : what arguments does JL have left now to give to his new designated successor Eric Schulz ?
4. I cannot but notice ES ( Eric Schulz ) comes from RR ( and Airbus before that ). EK switched to RR to engine the last batches of A380. GE is with the 777X & EA said they would not invest more. RR's answer is pending further large orders & future engine tech availability.
So what in-house arguments could ES have to continue or scrap the A380 programme ?
5. Article above states JL is staying until Jan 2018, therefore until Airbus' famous "5ft quarter". Knowing Leahy, I expect him to throw some interesting farewell show, be it his last humourous piques at his "friends in Seattle" or some unexpected contract ( on top of the Indigo deal ) to crown his career before retiring for good ( like that pending A380 deal with EK ). What do you think ?
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:29 pm

To stir the pot a bit,
6) Why wouldn't Airbus make him President of the Corporation? Wrong passport?

To me the articles are a good reminder that it's all a lot of hard work and a lot of stress. We are kind of like the audience at a sports match or musical event where we don't see the hours of preparation it takes to put on the show. And as great as Leahy has been, it's pretty clear the relatively few losses sting pretty badly. Like many people, it seems he treasures his accomplishments, but probably feels the losses quite deeply.

And it will be interesting to see if the perspective on A380 that Schulz brings from RR influences its future or not. I'm sure the topic came up in the interview process. Since he got the job, he must have provided a satisfactory answer.

BTW the Leeham link is https://leehamnews.com/2017/11/28/leahy ... rs-airbus/
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:47 pm

I think that JL is a great man who deserves respect. However, the question is whether he shaped Airbus or Airbus shaped him? After all, one must recognise that it takes both a good salesman and a good product to reach success. Would Airbus have been worse off if it was someone else? Airbus hasnt seen only successes. The A320 wasnt exactly selling by the hundreds until years after launch, the A342/A343 and their bigger sisters were a relative failure, the A350 MK1 was essentially an A330neo, the A380 isnt doing too great, the A330neo should be winning more campaigns. I think that the A320 and A350XWB are the ones that Airbus got really right and that put JL where he got.
I also think that at the scale of Airbus, no one man can make a difference. It s a team effort.
 
parapente
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:05 pm

The greatest salesman and he deserves a long and happy retirement.
But to be potentially negative.
Would JL have been a key member of the team/teams that had this obsession- no sorry 'death wish' with quads?

Not once ,not twice but three times!!And this from the company that invented the widebodied twin!
It has always seemed somewhat perverse.Mind you dear old JL managed to sell 'em even if they were inferior.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:14 pm

I'd be expecting Leahy to have some farewell order down his sleeves. Let's say Emirates taking another 100 somethings or similar. He will go with some positive bang that's for sure.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:48 pm

Waterbomber wrote:
I think that JL is a great man who deserves respect. However, the question is whether he shaped Airbus or Airbus shaped him? After all, one must recognise that it takes both a good salesman and a good product to reach success. Would Airbus have been worse off if it was someone else?

He shaped Airbus far more than Airbus shaped him. Read the quotes where early in his career he told the board that it was his goal to gain 50% market share and when challenged he doubled down on it. This was at a time that Airbus had 18% of the market. No one in that room was even contemplating 50% share.

Waterbomber wrote:
I also think that at the scale of Airbus, no one man can make a difference. It s a team effort.

It's a team effort, but Apple under Scully wasn't anything like Apple under Jobs. Some times the key influencers and decision makers are worth every penny of their exorbitant salaries.
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:49 pm

Waterbomber wrote:
I think that JL is a great man who deserves respect. However, the question is whether he shaped Airbus or Airbus shaped him? After all, one must recognise that it takes both a good salesman and a good product to reach success. Would Airbus have been worse off if it was someone else? Airbus hasnt seen only successes. The A320 wasnt exactly selling by the hundreds until years after launch, the A342/A343 and their bigger sisters were a relative failure, the A350 MK1 was essentially an A330neo, the A380 isnt doing too great, the A330neo should be winning more campaigns. I think that the A320 and A350XWB are the ones that Airbus got really right and that put JL where he got.
I also think that at the scale of Airbus, no one man can make a difference. It s a team effort.


Absolutely agree. The A330 did well too, should give it some credit. It is the best jet available for many jobs.

But, it would be an exaggeration to say the A380 program was well conceived. It was made to address the 2040 environment forty years early. The world has developed immensely (and on schedule) since late 1990s, and yet far fewer A380s are needed than they imagined. They did not correctly model how airlines choose jets. Airlines commonly select the smallest jet that can do the job. They upsize to a bigger (higher fixed cost) platform only with the greatest reluctance. Hence the 77W is popular- which is essentially a downsized 747/A380. The imperative to downsize when at all possible isn't a new thing, it has always been a fundamental. Until airports are traffic saturated.

But I have seen that same misconception happen at places like Bombardier, with their Q400 which really doesn't address American needs, or Embraer with their EMB-175 E2, which to my limited understanding, again ignored the spec their main customers need. It should not be about what OEMs want to build. I think A340 NG feel into that trap too.
 
LH982
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:52 pm

Waterbomber wrote:
I think that JL is a great man who deserves respect. However, the question is whether he shaped Airbus or Airbus shaped him? After all, one must recognise that it takes both a good salesman and a good product to reach success. Would Airbus have been worse off if it was someone else? Airbus hasnt seen only successes. The A320 wasnt exactly selling by the hundreds until years after launch, the A342/A343 and their bigger sisters were a relative failure, the A350 MK1 was essentially an A330neo, the A380 isnt doing too great, the A330neo should be winning more campaigns. I think that the A320 and A350XWB are the ones that Airbus got really right and that put JL where he got.
I also think that at the scale of Airbus, no one man can make a difference. It s a team effort.


One man can make a huge difference. People will do an awful lot more for a leader they believe in, and a customer faced with two competitive products can always be swayed.

I'd also add the A330 to the aircraft Airbus got right. Maybe not first time, but it just got better and better.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:58 pm

Revelation wrote:
6) Why wouldn't Airbus make him President of the Corporation? Wrong passport?
BTW the Leeham link is https://leehamnews.com/2017/11/28/leahy ... rs-airbus/

Wrong passport AND he doth not speak any of his shareholders language, he doth not even mix with the DAX & CAC40 tycoons. And he has not even UK citizenship.
He is essentially a UFO in the old continent, not unlike Tocquevile in America... ( and thanx for the Link I forgot to add :bigthumbsup: )


Waterbomber wrote:
Airbus hasnt seen only successes. The A320 wasnt exactly selling by the hundreds until years after launch, the A342/A343 and their bigger sisters were a relative failure, the A350 MK1 was essentially an A330neo, the A380 isnt doing too great, the A330neo should be winning more campaigns.

I agree up to a point, one must remember that Airbus were then less experienced than Boeing who, one has to admit, have had only successes in the end ( save for the 748i ). 377 A340s is not bad even if below projections, way better than the Russians in any case, and it is a twin programme with the A330, meaning that all versions paved the way to its success with continual improvements. The A330/A340 is a huge success, will attain 2000+ frames, way more than what the A300/A310 could have forshadowed.
A350 Mark1 is like the 745 or 746, none ever built. A330neo & A380 have not yet kicked the bucket, may be soon, but we must wait.


Noshow wrote:
I'd be expecting Leahy to have some farewell order down his sleeves. Let's say Emirates taking another 100 somethings or similar. He will go with some positive bang that's for sure.

Revelation wrote:
It's a team effort, but Apple under Scully wasn't anything like Apple under Jobs. Some times the key influencers and decision makers are worth every penny of their exorbitant salaries.

Yes, he has that "sacred fire" Steve Jobs had, Jack Ma & a few others. JL has been consistent on this for the past 33 years.
So I am sure he has cooked something up. And just like with the insider trade investigations, he now keeps a low profile & minds his business, he is the vizir who has outlived a dozen emperors ( presidents, CEOs & CCOs ), people who achieve that have something others don't.


Revelation wrote:
Waterbomber wrote:
the question is whether he shaped Airbus or Airbus shaped him ?

He shaped Airbus far more than Airbus shaped him. Read the quotes where early in his career he told the board that it was his goal to gain 50% market share and when challenged he doubled down on it. This was at a time that Airbus had 18% of the market. No one in that room was even contemplating 50% share.

I have no doubt he shaped Airbus, its marketing, its resilience, its ear to airlines & market forecasts.
Yet I also think Airbus "revelated" him, pulled the genius out of him, he met his life mission & life ambition.
Plus he has been preaching Airbus & prophetizing all these past 33 years with not a few miracles... :duck:


Flighty wrote:
it would be an exaggeration to say the A380 program was well conceived

"Well conceived" with the information & projections available in all the years prior to launch in 2000.
Then came 9/11 & the economic downturn, two unpredictable systemic shocks to the sector, also affected the 744.
Add to that the incredible mess of the Catia delays with the subsequent the loss of the CA A380 order to the 748i, the scrapping of the A380F, the wing cracks : with all that, I am surprised Airbus did not fare worse. Fortunately for Airbus, JL met another Genius : STC. These two, with Juan Trippe & AAB, are the 3 Musketteers (actually 4) of commercial aviation.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:30 pm

The Leeham article is a good read about the successes of a talented salesman working for a company willing to take risks.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:24 pm

LEAHY on AIRSHOWS :

Airbus' Leahy reveals negotiating tricks

“After I retire I will not come back to an air show. I don’t see any reason to do that. Air shows are hot and sometimes very wet, they can be cold and windy, they are crowded, you never have enough time for people,” he said.

The only useful thing about an air show is that it is a deadline, a point in time. You talk to people when negotiations have been going on for months...and you say ‘this is my best and final (offer); it can be announced at the air show and we have got a deal,’ and they say ‘no I want more’,” he said.

“Then you have to say ‘if you didn’t get it from me during the air show, what makes you think you are going to get it from me the week after it?’ So it becomes a deadline: that is about the only use I see in air shows.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-airshow-paris-leahy-plans/airbus-leahy-reveals-negotiating-tricks-after-last-air-show-idUSKBN19D2KV



LEAHY may leave in FEB 2018 after the SINGAPORE AIRSHOW with a MEGA ORDER :

Being John Leahy

There are suggestions, however, he might bid adieu after the Singapore Airshow in mid-February 2018 where, it is thought, Leahy will go out in a blaze of glory with a multibillion dollar order from an Asian customer.

https://endauanalytics.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/being-john-leahy/
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:20 am

Mr Laehy single handedly sold the A320 and A319 to United with 5 year "walk away" leases. We took delivery of the airplanes and if we didn't like them in the forst 5 years? We could park them and walk away from them. No questions asked. That was risky and Brilliant! we kept the airplanes and they've been a great asset to United. Politics being what it is since the merger though? I seriously doubt we'll ever see new ones at United aside from the A350's
And they've done everything in the world to not even take THEM..
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:36 am

But times change. At that time it was needed to cut that deal to an US customer, nowadays that sort deal will go to an Asian customer anyway.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:56 am

strfyr51 wrote:
I seriously doubt we'll ever see new ones at United aside from the A350's
And they've done everything in the world to not even take THEM..


Go back. Read older, MUCH older posts and threads.
Especially those that have "American/Delta will NEVER buy Airbus" in the subject.

The fact is, United may yet buy more Airbus in the future. You never know - Airbus Industrie may yet come up with the airplane that will *gasp* KILL the 797, a.k.a. "NMA/MoM".
Proudly avoiding 737 MAX since 18.11.2020.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:23 am

Newbiepilot wrote:
The Leeham article is a good read about the successes of a talented salesman working for a company willing to take risks.


Synergies from individual excellence cooperating.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23561/23 ... 3561-h.htm
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:32 am

LH982 wrote:
Waterbomber wrote:
I think that JL is a great man who deserves respect. However, the question is whether he shaped Airbus or Airbus shaped him? After all, one must recognise that it takes both a good salesman and a good product to reach success. Would Airbus have been worse off if it was someone else? Airbus hasnt seen only successes. The A320 wasnt exactly selling by the hundreds until years after launch, the A342/A343 and their bigger sisters were a relative failure, the A350 MK1 was essentially an A330neo, the A380 isnt doing too great, the A330neo should be winning more campaigns. I think that the A320 and A350XWB are the ones that Airbus got really right and that put JL where he got.
I also think that at the scale of Airbus, no one man can make a difference. It s a team effort.


One man can make a huge difference. People will do an awful lot more for a leader they believe in, and a customer faced with two competitive products can always be swayed.

I'd also add the A330 to the aircraft Airbus got right. Maybe not first time, but it just got better and better.


To extend your point, the A330 sold incredibly well, especially given its low development cost. Not only that, the A340 whilst an apparent 'failure' was used hugely in the development of the A330 :D
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:41 am

LH982 wrote:
I'd also add the A330 to the aircraft Airbus got right. Maybe not first time, but it just got better and better.


They got it right from the beginning. ( the A330/A340 combo ) derisking the quad vs twin game and
unlinking from ETOPS developments controlled at the time by a competitor.

If not it would have had no chance to "get better and better .." with just minor detailing.

Boeing regularly needs largish redesigns to upgrade their models over time.
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DWC
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:36 am

After the INDIGO DEAL, Airbus won DELTA's narrowbody RFP : Leahy has been silent but active.

I am still puzzled by the link above ( comment 11) stating Leahy would be leaving in February 2019 after a major deal with an Asian carrier. Ideas ?

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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:23 pm

Just stumbled on this 2013 interview, despite it being 5 years old, some salient points valid today :

1. Commercial aviation as a growth industry
2. China as a 3rd major OEM after 2030
3. Airbus' strategy for smooth rumps up & down - as opposed to order cycles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKL-EpVfHKY
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:55 pm

I don’t really understand why people ‘blame’ Leah’s for the “four engines issue”. He’s a master salesman, not an aircraft designer. He just sells what Airbus builds.
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:03 pm

strfyr51 wrote:
Mr Laehy single handedly sold the A320 and A319 to United with 5 year "walk away" leases. We took delivery of the airplanes and if we didn't like them in the forst 5 years? We could park them and walk away from them. No questions asked. That was risky and Brilliant! we kept the airplanes and they've been a great asset to United. Politics being what it is since the merger though? I seriously doubt we'll ever see new ones at United aside from the A350's
And they've done everything in the world to not even take THEM..


Sorry to stir the praise party here but, in sales you don't get medals for giving away the house. John Leahy lacks many of the sales disciplines good sales professionals practice. He sold a lot of planes in a period when there was a lot of buying going on and the customers only had (2) choices. BFD....
 
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par13del
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:06 pm

Interesting thread to see how the accomplishments of an American working for a European company will be downplayed for Euro pride.
May also be stirring the pot.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:22 pm

par13del wrote:
Interesting thread to see how the accomplishments of an American working for a European company will be downplayed for Euro pride.
May also be stirring the pot.


Seems like the only ones who downplay his accomplishments are from the west side of the Atlantic. :scratchchin:

Let me know when us Euros denigrate his achievements.
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:25 pm

SC430 wrote:
strfyr51 wrote:
Mr Laehy single handedly sold the A320 and A319 to United with 5 year "walk away" leases. We took delivery of the airplanes and if we didn't like them in the forst 5 years? We could park them and walk away from them. No questions asked. That was risky and Brilliant! we kept the airplanes and they've been a great asset to United. Politics being what it is since the merger though? I seriously doubt we'll ever see new ones at United aside from the A350's
And they've done everything in the world to not even take THEM..


Sorry to stir the praise party here but, in sales you don't get medals for giving away the house. John Leahy lacks many of the sales disciplines good sales professionals practice. He sold a lot of planes in a period when there was a lot of buying going on and the customers only had (2) choices. BFD....



John Leahy is a shit salesman because he sold a lot of planes when a lot of airlines were buying them and they only had 2 choices? He is so crap at his job that anyone would have done the same. But if that is true, how absolutely crap and incompetent has the Boeing sales been since the 1990's? They had a 70% plus share in the single aisle market, only had one competitor and still managed to lose that to where they now have around 45% of the sales market.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:35 pm

enzo011 wrote:
SC430 wrote:
strfyr51 wrote:
Mr Laehy single handedly sold the A320 and A319 to United with 5 year "walk away" leases. We took delivery of the airplanes and if we didn't like them in the forst 5 years? We could park them and walk away from them. No questions asked. That was risky and Brilliant! we kept the airplanes and they've been a great asset to United. Politics being what it is since the merger though? I seriously doubt we'll ever see new ones at United aside from the A350's
And they've done everything in the world to not even take THEM..


Sorry to stir the praise party here but, in sales you don't get medals for giving away the house. John Leahy lacks many of the sales disciplines good sales professionals practice. He sold a lot of planes in a period when there was a lot of buying going on and the customers only had (2) choices. BFD....



John Leahy is a shit salesman because he sold a lot of planes when a lot of airlines were buying them and they only had 2 choices? He is so crap at his job that anyone would have done the same. But if that is true, how absolutely crap and incompetent has the Boeing sales been since the 1990's? They had a 70% plus share in the single aisle market, only had one competitor and still managed to lose that to where they now have around 45% of the sales market.


Sorry, I thought this was a thread about John Leahy - did I miss something in the title?
 
DWC
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:35 pm

par13del wrote:
Interesting thread to see how the accomplishments of an American working for a European company will be downplayed for Euro pride.

I am European. I wrote the post. I ascribe to him much of what Airbus is today ( read my OP ) : so what's that Yank rant about ? ;)


scbriml wrote:
Seems like the only ones who downplay his accomplishments are from the west side of the Atlantic. :scratchchin:
Let me know when us Euros denigrate his achievements.

I don’t really understand why people ‘blame’ Leah’s for the “four engines issue”. He’s a master salesman, not an aircraft designer. He just sells what Airbus builds.

Ditto ! :D
He has what the French call "le sens de la formule" or "sense of expressions", he knows how to coin cute ones.
Whether people buy his buzz words & "bagout" ( vocal chutzpah ) is their sole responsibility : welcome to the world of marketing !

SC430 wrote:
Sorry to stir the praise party here but, in sales you don't get medals for giving away the house. John Leahy lacks many of the sales disciplines good sales professionals practice. He sold a lot of planes in a period when there was a lot of buying going on and the customers only had (2) choices. BFD....

See, you did not read my OP either.
Leahy has the "view thing", he thinks long term & sees further than most.
He never gave away the house, he actually gave it an additional 32-34% market share when no one believed his goals & projections.
The 1970s & 1980s were also a period of massive buyings, but airlines' risk aversion just ignored Airbus ( incidently Brégier's & Tim Clark's argument as to why airlines did not buy more A380s )
 
SC430
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:33 am

enzo011 wrote:
SC430 wrote:
strfyr51 wrote:
Mr Laehy single handedly sold the A320 and A319 to United with 5 year "walk away" leases. We took delivery of the airplanes and if we didn't like them in the forst 5 years? We could park them and walk away from them. No questions asked. That was risky and Brilliant! we kept the airplanes and they've been a great asset to United. Politics being what it is since the merger though? I seriously doubt we'll ever see new ones at United aside from the A350's
And they've done everything in the world to not even take THEM..


Sorry to stir the praise party here but, in sales you don't get medals for giving away the house. John Leahy lacks many of the sales disciplines good sales professionals practice. He sold a lot of planes in a period when there was a lot of buying going on and the customers only had (2) choices. BFD....



John Leahy is a shit salesman because he sold a lot of planes when a lot of airlines were buying them and they only had 2 choices? He is so crap at his job that anyone would have done the same. But if that is true, how absolutely crap and incompetent has the Boeing sales been since the 1990's? They had a 70% plus share in the single aisle market, only had one competitor and still managed to lose that to where they now have around 45% of the sales market.


Sorry, I thought this was a thread about John Leahy - did I miss something in the title?
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:36 am

SC430 wrote:
Sorry to stir the praise party here but, in sales you don't get medals for giving away the house. John Leahy lacks many of the sales disciplines good sales professionals practice. He sold a lot of planes in a period when there was a lot of buying going on and the customers only had (2) choices. BFD....

See, you did not read my OP either.
Leahy has the "view thing", he thinks long term & sees further than most.
He never gave away the house, he actually gave it an additional 32-34% market share when no one believed his goals & projections.
The 1970s & 1980s were also a period of massive buyings, but airlines' risk aversion just ignored Airbus ( incidently Brégier's & Tim Clark's argument as to why airlines did not buy more A380s )[/quote]

The view guy was wrong on the A340 and the A380 - so much for his views..
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:52 am

DWC wrote:
as a genius, he sees farther than most. He pulled the A380 bunny to all major airlines & most bought it. I deem the A380 idea was globally correct at launch time.


Once more into the genius creep.

And globally incorrect at crunch time...that makes him what, still a genius?

A man who's lived and worked in France for 25 years and doesn't speak the language...still a genius?

"Genius is an African who dreams up snow" - Nabokov
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:01 am

N212R wrote:
DWC wrote:
as a genius, he sees farther than most. He pulled the A380 bunny to all major airlines & most bought it. I deem the A380 idea was globally correct at launch time.


Once more into the genius creep.

And globally incorrect at crunch time...that makes him what, still a genius?

A man who's lived and worked in France for 25 years and doesn't speak the language...still a genius?

"Genius is an African who dreams up snow" - Nabokov


Someone who can convince many airlines that the A380 is definitely the best fit for their needs, and to not cancel their orders despite all its problems?

Genius.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:04 am

DWC wrote:
He has what the French call "le sens de la formule" or "sense of expressions", he knows how to coin cute ones.


He's a professional salesman and very good at his calling, quoi!

In another era he would be winning Best Salesman awards in smoky banquet rooms and hotel ballrooms while bored wives (or worse) with mascara stained eyes wait for the pineapple upside down cake to arrive.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:02 am

SC430 wrote:
Sorry, I thought this was a thread about John Leahy - did I miss something in the title?


You apparently missed the rather obvious point that one can only judge a person's performance by comparison with their peers. You're suggesting selling planes is easy when there are only 2 OEMs to choose from, and the only way to test that claim is to compare Leahy to his Boeing counterparts.

SC430 wrote:
The view guy was wrong on the A340 and the A380 - so much for his views..


Even if you believed that the head of sales was entirely responsible for aircraft design (which would be a bit silly), the A340 technical specs were finalized only a few months after Leahy joined Airbus.
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:15 am

zckls04 wrote:
the only way to test that claim is to compare Leahy to his Boeing counterparts


This. Can anyone even name all of his Boeing counterparts that have been and gone during Leahy's tenure at Airbus? I doubt it.

I love how his detractors can't even give him any credit for his achievement in taking Airbus from 15-18% market share to where they are today. Laughable.
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:31 am

Thank you Mr. Leahy for everything you have done for the Airbus family. We will never stop trying to catch up! :white:
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:54 am

scbriml wrote:
I love how his detractors can't even give him any credit for his achievement in taking Airbus from 15-18% market share to where they are today. Laughable.

Did you see our three sad detractors above irked by the mere word "genius" ? Whatever the problems with the A346 & A380, they missed the blatant success of the A330/A340 family ( 2000 frames ) & all that the A380 did for Airbus, as discussed in other threads, and specially the ramp ups A320 family included that became necessary after Leahy's eating into Boeing's turf contract after contract. Few remember that when Airbus was at 18% ( still remarkable then ), when LH aimed for 50% of the market, the Airbus CEO & board balked & asked him if 30% was not more realistic...

It is precisely this lack of vision that let Boeing (+ McDD ) loose their virtual monopoly. Truth is Airbus can now do as Boieng & have "normal" salesmen & still keep their marketshare, until a new genius comes in, starts doing things differently & takes the world by surprise. I expect the Russians & Chinese be in much better positions in the 2030s, but that will depend not only on the MC-21 & CR919 merits, but if they ever get someone like LH : won't be a North American for sure ;)
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:42 am

DWC wrote:
scbriml wrote:
I love how his detractors can't even give him any credit for his achievement in taking Airbus from 15-18% market share to where they are today. Laughable.

Did you see our three sad detractors above irked by the mere word "genius" ? Whatever the problems with the A346 & A380, they missed the blatant success of the A330/A340 family ( 2000 frames ) & all that the A380 did for Airbus, as discussed in other threads, and specially the ramp ups A320 family included that became necessary after Leahy's eating into Boeing's turf contract after contract. Few remember that when Airbus was at 18% ( still remarkable then ), when LH aimed for 50% of the market, the Airbus CEO & board balked & asked him if 30% was not more realistic...

It is precisely this lack of vision that let Boeing (+ McDD ) loose their virtual monopoly. Truth is Airbus can now do as Boieng & have "normal" salesmen & still keep their marketshare, until a new genius comes in, starts doing things differently & takes the world by surprise. I expect the Russians & Chinese be in much better positions in the 2030s, but that will depend not only on the MC-21 & CR919 merits, but if they ever get someone like LH : won't be a North American for sure ;)


Even though the A380 sale rate has been somewhat disappointing for Airbus, it has sold more copies than the MD-11 (which also arguably came to the market a little too late), and the lessons learned from the research and development process have been hugely important and useful for future projects.

Leahy is indeed a superb salesman, and he had some excellent products to work with. He was the one who saw the potential in Airbus and pushed for expansion - he deserves a huge amount of credit because he had confidence in the potential of the product he was selling and took things to the next level. I for one am not sure that Airbus would have had such success without Leahy in charge of sales.
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:19 pm

Interesting how this thread uses the terms "genius" and "shit" to describe the same guy.

To me if you re-read his interviews at Hamilton web site (basis of this thread) he himself talks about both the highs and the lows.

strfyr51 wrote:
Mr Laehy single handedly sold the A320 and A319 to United with 5 year "walk away" leases. We took delivery of the airplanes and if we didn't like them in the forst 5 years? We could park them and walk away from them. No questions asked. That was risky and Brilliant! we kept the airplanes and they've been a great asset to United. Politics being what it is since the merger though? I seriously doubt we'll ever see new ones at United aside from the A350's
And they've done everything in the world to not even take THEM..

The real reason the strategy worked at UA is that the A320 was the best fit. UA needed to replace ageing 727s and A320 was by far a better choice than anything being made by Boeing or McDD at the time. If it wasn't a great fit UA would have walked away.

The walk away strategy was largely about risk. Back then Airbus was thought to be a risky choice in general and A320s all new fly by wire was in particular viewed as risky. Also economic risk: the industry was very turbulent and some airlines didn't want to take on new planes because of the economic risk.

JL describes DL walking away from a walk away lease as one of the worst times in his career. That was largely about the economic picture but had some elements of 'bad fit' too because DL didn't go back to Airbus for quite a while after that deal.

It reminds me of something I've read before about these articles:

To me the articles are a good reminder that it's all a lot of hard work and a lot of stress. We are kind of like the audience at a sports match or musical event where we don't see the hours of preparation it takes to put on the show. And as great as Leahy has been, it's pretty clear the relatively few losses sting pretty badly. Like many people, it seems he treasures his accomplishments, but probably feels the losses quite deeply.

It was what I wrote in #2 above. Sounds to me like a genius who has a few shit days from time to time and has a hard time letting go of the ones that got away.
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:44 pm

Revelation wrote:
Sounds to me like a genius who has a few shit days from time to time and has a hard time letting go of the ones that got away.


We all have good days and bad days, but most of us aren't trying to pull together multi-billion Dollar deals. While it humanises him somewhat that the losses still hurt, even JL must appreciate that he simply cannot win them all!

I do understand why some people intensely dislike his personality. However to deny that he was very good at his job for a long time, seems petty in the extreme.
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:57 pm

scbriml wrote:
However to deny that he was very good at his job for a long time, seems petty in the extreme.

He was very good at his job for a very long time. He was very good at figuring out what it took to close the deal, and more often than not, he did. I especially like the idea that he'd go back after a loss and ask what he could have done better. That takes humility and that takes wisdom. The fact that he's upset at the deals he did not close just shows how much he put in to his job, a great credit to him.

The point I'm trying to make is not that he was bad (he was great) but that we only seem to see the glorious part of the job, and never see the hard work by himself and countless underlings, and we don't see the pain they feel when they don't close the deal.

Going forward, it's still strange to me that they've replaced him with an outsider. It makes me wonder if JL didn't spend enough time preparing a successor. You would have thought the company could benefit a lot from JL having a few apprentices learning what he does and who he does it with. I know insiders might have some taint due to the corruption scandal, but you'd think they could still find a good internal candidate to promote.
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:01 pm

From how I see him, he carves smart deals that no Long Term thinking airlines can walk away from.
So when that happens, he must be full of questions like "just what happened ?", "what is it I missed ?" or "why are they so shitty" ?
Same with the A380 if you factor everything in & not narrow the whole industry to a mere bottomline while externalizing costs to consumers & the environment, the whale should have sold better, that a newbie airline like EK ( founded in 1986 only) made it work with now double the 747 fleet BA ever had.
Bottom line : most airlines are not that well run as they think.
I would hate to have LH's job, waste my life with petty behaviours & risk averse management.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:07 pm

DWC wrote:
Same with the A380 if you factor everything in & not narrow the whole industry to a mere bottomline while externalizing costs to consumers & the environment, the whale should have sold better, that a newbie airline like EK ( founded in 1986 only) made it work with now double the 747 fleet BA ever had.
Bottom line : most airlines are not that well run as they think.
I would hate to have LH's job, waste my life with petty behaviours & risk averse management.

It's easy for EK to not care about risk.
When the owner looks at his money he sees his brother's or nephew's picture.
Most of the rest of the world's airlines aren't as fortunate.
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Channex757
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:30 pm

I'm not going to get into my opinions on "The Man Who Sold The Sky" as I've explained them hereabouts before. What an astounding salesman.

What he can safely bet on is that the day after he retires, big blue chip companies by the hundreds will be offering him non-executive directorships. Real money for a few days work a year.

The allure of that special sauce he has got will be irresistible and firms will offer top dollar for his insight on their boards. I can see him taking a few choice ones at least.
 
TaromA380
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:11 pm

1994. John Leahy enters the scene.
The board : We are at 18% market share, What is your goal ?
John Leahy : 50% !!

2018. Eric Schulz enters the scene.
The board : We are at 54% market share. What is your goal ?
Eric Schulz : [insert your answer here]
 
DWC
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:54 pm

Revelation wrote:
It's easy for EK to not care about risk.
When the owner looks at his money he sees his brother's or nephew's picture.
Most of the rest of the world's airlines aren't as fortunate.

The picture may not be that rosy for EK.
1. It is lessors who are willing to play ball for EK, but that could change any time now, hence STC's hysteric demands on Airbus.
2. Airbus need not kowtow anymore to EK, particularly now that there is a new team, I believe they made their best & last offer for the DAS.
3. In fact, depending if something happens or not with China / Macron next week or even at the Singapore Airshow next month, Airbus could well stop the programme, I am sure they have a catastrophe scenario to limit the consequences. In which case, EK is f..., because much of their sex appeal with passengers, marketing & business model to keep EU & Asian airlines out from commuting more between both ends of Eurasia lie with their 100+ A380s.
4. I am not sure EK can have seed capital to buy more A380s without either bankrupting the state of Dubai or getting retaliations from the US.
5. So all that Airbus now needs to do is wait & see until EK see their options clear.

Naturally, I am aware I may be missing crucial information & that the outcome may be rationally different.

Airlines that are fortunate & should have gone for A380s & top-ups
1. the CN3 considering their ambitions & Gov backing with deep pockets
2. BA but they are stingy
3. AF & LH to compete better with the ME3
4. All US3, I am aware of all the reasons not to discussed here ( multihubs, frequencies, too capital intensive, etc etc ), but just consider this gross scenario : if smaller but fairly well run airlines CX, CI, BR, KE, OZ, JL, NH, SQ ( not counting HA, AI or TG in the future ) from much much smaller countries continue to flood the US West, ATL & East Coast with 777s, 777Xs, A380s & 787s, the US3 will lose transpac marketshare into insignificance.
I am not sure their buying chinese shares will prevent that.

Actually, does anyone have the % of transpac traffic by carrier for 2017, and perhaps the projections for coming years ?
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:57 am

LEAHY's little sentence Jan 15th about ending the programme if they could not reach an agreement with EK may have forced EK into signing fast, in order to avoid that negative perception raise further concerns with LEASERS & LEASE FEES in the future.

French mag "CHALLENGE(S)" yesterday added two informations I did not know :
1. that ENDERS angrily yelled at STC stating his last minute demands at DAS were, quote, "Blackmail !!!!"
something some of us here saw, but telling it to EK's CEO is another matter
2. that negociations not only stopped at that point but that their resuming is LEAHY's own work, not Ender's ( Brégier is not even mentionned ).
Last, article says Airbus may have sold the frame below the $230 million says it is traded with big orders ( link in article )
https://www.challenges.fr/entreprise/ae ... 380_561107
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:01 pm

DWC wrote:
LEAHY's little sentence Jan 15th about ending the programme if they could not reach an agreement with EK may have forced EK into signing fast, in order to avoid that negative perception raise further concerns with LEASERS & LEASE FEES in the future.

French mag "CHALLENGE(S)" yesterday added two informations I did not know :
1. that ENDERS angrily yelled at STC stating his last minute demands at DAS were, quote, "Blackmail !!!!"
something some of us here saw, but telling it to EK's CEO is another matter
2. that negociations not only stopped at that point but that their resuming is LEAHY's own work, not Ender's ( Brégier is not even mentionned ).
Last, article says Airbus may have sold the frame below the $230 million says it is traded with big orders ( link in article )
https://www.challenges.fr/entreprise/ae ... 380_561107

Thanks for the article. The translation used the word 'psychodrama' to describe this series of events, and it's an excellent choice of words.

Note that STC did not seem to be around during the signing ceremony (his boss handled the honors) and that boss is able to say that he got his ten year guarantee from Airbus.

"This order will bring stability to the production line of the 'A380, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Emirates, quoted in the statement.We will work with Airbus to further improve the aircraft and its interior, to offer our passengers the best experience. John Leahy says Airbus has made the commitment to produce the A380 for at least another ten years, an express request from Emirates: "I am personally convinced that more orders will follow and that this great aircraft will still be produced in the 2030s ",
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:25 pm

TaromA380 wrote:
1994. John Leahy enters the scene.
The board : We are at 18% market share, What is your goal ?
John Leahy : 50% !!

2018. Eric Schulz enters the scene.
The board : We are at 54% market share. What is your goal ?
Eric Schulz : [insert your answer here]


54% market share but with 15% margin?

Rgds
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:29 pm

astuteman wrote:
TaromA380 wrote:
1994. John Leahy enters the scene.
The board : We are at 18% market share, What is your goal ?
John Leahy : 50% !!

2018. Eric Schulz enters the scene.
The board : We are at 54% market share. What is your goal ?
Eric Schulz : [insert your answer here]


54% market share but with 15% margin?

As I stated upthread, Leahy gave specific instructions to his team to never cross over the 50-52% figure so as not to trigger wailing by Boeing or retaliatory measures by the US Administration ( Clinton's wild speech at Everett comes to mind ). European leaders are weary Boeing does not cross it either, Macron's said in China that the new Chinese order reestablished parity with Boeing orders there. So I'd say not more than 54%, and Boeing is doing nicely, but they need to replace their NB line faster than Airbus doesl that's where the difference lies in marketshare. For WBs, Leahy was proud to announce that both OEMs had 50& share if all past ten years were taken into account.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:15 pm

parapente wrote:
The greatest salesman and he deserves a long and happy retirement.
But to be potentially negative.
Would JL have been a key member of the team/teams that had this obsession- no sorry 'death wish' with quads?

Not once ,not twice but three times!!And this from the company that invented the widebodied twin!
It has always seemed somewhat perverse.Mind you dear old JL managed to sell 'em even if they were inferior.

JL's obsession with quads certainly hurt Airbus.

Oh the irony. He knew the A310 let PanAm limp on, but he couldn't accept quads are basically done for decades. Oh well... The A330 and A320 certainly did well.
Winter is coming.
 
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Re: LEAHY : reflections on 33 years at Airbus

Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:32 pm

lightsaber wrote:
JL's obsession with quads certainly hurt Airbus.


Do we know he was actually "obsessed with quads", or was he just playing with the cards he was dealt? :scratchchin:
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