Lilium Names Airbus Exec as New CEO

Klaus Roewe, who led A320, A321neo programs, to succeed German eVTOL developer’s co-founder Daniel Wiegand.

Germany-based electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) developer Lilium (NASDAQ: LILM) named Airbus (Euronext FR: AIR.FP) executive Klaus Roewe on Wednesday as its new chief executive officer, succeeding current CEO and co-founder Daniel Wiegand. 

Roewe, who led Airbus’ successful A320 and A320neo airliner programs, is expected to begin his new role on August 1, while Wiegand will maintain his role on the company’s board of directors and as chief engineer for innovation and future programs. 

Roewe has also served as Airbus head of customer service, after leading two of the OEM’s most profitable aircraft programs, including development, supply chain, production, and entry into service. Prior to his nearly 30-year career at Airbus, Roewe received a degree in mechanical engineering from Hamburg, Germany’s Helmut-Schmidt University. 

In a statement, outgoing CEO Wiegand described Roewe as “the right person to lead us through this next phase; and adding him gives Lilium the ideal mix of Silicon Valley innovation with deep aerospace know-how.”

Lilium’s seven-seat eVTOL is expected to enter service in 2025. [Courtesy: Lilium] 

Critical Timing

The leadership change comes at a critical time for Lilium, amid a flight-test campaign for its fifth generation Phoenix 2 full-sized demonstrator. The test article recently underwent a significant change in its propulsor array and achieved an important milestone—successful main wing transition from hover to flight. 

Lilium is expected to receive EASA certification in time for its production aircraft to enter service in 2025. 

The company has established itself as a leader among hundreds of startups aiming to create an entirely new form of battery-powered, zero-emission air transportation. 

“I’m proud to be joining the most innovative and differentiated eVTOL company in our industry,“ Roewe said in a statement. “I look forward to working with all the Lilium teams to advance the development of our aircraft and to drive Lilium’s success in revolutionizing sustainable air transport.”

Its production model, Lilium Jet, is designed to seat a pilot and six passengers. It will fly with an expected range between 40 and 200 km (22 and 108 nm) and maximum speeds up to 300 km/h (162 knots).

Last year, the company struck a provisional deal with Brazilian airline Azul to buy $1 billion Lilium aircraft. Other Lilium partnerships include agreements with FlightSafety International and NetJets. 


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