Orsi Makes Paris Debut as Finmeccanica CEO
By TOM KINGTON • PARIS — Giuseppe Orsi, the recently appointed CEO of Italy’s Finmeccanica, began to impose his authority on the group during an unorthodox press conference at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday where he announced orders from emerging markets would rise 20 percent between 2011 and 2015.
Orsi, who replaced former CEO Piefrancesco Guarguaglini in April, said he envisaged the hike in orders from India, China, Russia, the Middle East, Brazil and Turkey. Total orders for those years would be above 20 billion euros a year, he said.
Orders from Italy and the UK, which made up 24 percent and 14 percent in 2010 would drop to 19 percent and eight percent respectively in 2011-12, he said, as orders from markets outside Italy, the UK and the US increased from 40 percent to 51 percent.
Orsi marked his Air Show debut as CEO by first announcing he would make a presentation but refer all questions to Pierfrancesco Guarguaglini, the former CEO who moved to become chairman in April but retains power over strategy and acquistions.
Orsi, the former CEO of AgustaWestland, who decided against giving any interviews before the Paris Air Show, said he was still in the midst of taking 100 days to study the firm from top to bottom and would answer questions about Finmeccanica in July.
“Finmeccanica is a complex world and I will use my 100 days to fully understand it,” he said.
But as the press conference proceeded, Orsi took increasing control of the event, answering questions or referring them to the heads of Finmeccanica units in the audience, echoing the firm’s decision to give each unit its own press conferences at the Air Show this year instead of simply holding a single group level event.
When Guarguaglini was asked if his role meant he would enroll a partner in the U.S. for Finmeccanica when it markets its M-346 jet trainer there, he said he would make the decision with Orsi and general director Alessandro Pansa.
Orsi said budget cuts in the U.S. meant it was set to become harder for non-U.S. firms to win contracts there, while the number of U.S. firms seeking new export business would heat up the global competition for Finmeccanica.
The firm will start discussing a new five-year budget plan in July, he said. “We will look at every activity and start to focus on where we will put our money,” he said.
“It will be ready by year end, and selloffs could be involved,” he added.
Finmeccanica has already announced it will consider selling off non-core activities belonging to DRS Electronics, its U.S. unit. What remains to be seen is if Finmeccanica will shed activities in Italy.