More senior executives leave Embraer as dust settles over failed Boeing deal

By Marcelo Rochabrun, Allison Lampert and Rodrigo Viga Gaier
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Four senior executives are leaving Embraer SA in addition to their commercial aviation boss after a failed deal with Boeing Co and, as the new managing director, reevaluate the jet manufacturer's path according to three sources.
Executives include Nelson Salgado, the current Chief Operations Officer, who previously served as Chief Financial Officer and has been with Embraer for more than 30 years.
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Also out was Antonio Campello, who headed the company's innovation arm called EmbraerX, whose most famous project is a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle developed in collaboration with Uber.
The aircraft project is personally supported by Embraer's CEO Francisco Gomes Neto, who sees it as a high-risk, high-reward project.
Embraer named an outsider Gomes Neto last year as CEO when it seemed like a closed deal that the aircraft manufacturer would sell its commercial aviation unit to Boeing for $ 4.2 billion and focus its business on smaller executive jets and defense.
Instead, Gomes Neto had to look for a Plan B for the company when the Boeing deal collapsed in April. Two sources said the departures were part of Gomes Neto's efforts to plan a future without Boeing.
Gomes Neto has also reduced investments to a minimum due to the corona virus crisis.
Embraer said Monday that John Slattery, who was one of the company's most visible faces and head of the commercial aviation department, left the company to do a bigger job as head of engine manufacturer GE Aviation.
Slattery had campaigned for the Boeing-Embraer deal and was ready to become a senior Boeing manager as head of the Embraer partnership.
Two other executives who should join Boeing after the contract was signed, Helio Bambini and Mauro Kern, each vice president of operations and technology, are also expected to leave Embraer, the three sources said.
Embraer said in a statement that "organizational changes" had been made, including the "consolidation" of Vice Presidents in engineering and strategy, and leadership changes in operations and EmbraerX, without specifying a name.
The personnel changes would take effect at the end of June and would not affect an agreement for a $ 600 million loan, partially supported by the Brazilian government, that the aircraft manufacturer would not reduce its workforce. The loan agreement was announced on Monday.
"I am convinced that we have many opportunities to make Embraer a more agile organization that is simpler, more competitive and more efficient in all areas," said Gomes Neto in a statement.
(Reporting by Allison Lampert, Marcelo Rochabrun and Rodrigo Viga Gaier; editing by Nick Zieminski)

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