Assumes responsibility for all Airbus Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security-related business opportunities


HERNDON, Va., July 3, 2019 –  Airbus has appointed Chris Emerson President of Airbus Defense and Space Inc., a subsidiary of Airbus Americas, effective 1 July 2019. Emerson previously served as President of Airbus Helicopters Inc. and head of the North America region.

Emerson’s new role moves him from the Airbus Helicopters Inc. headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas to the Airbus Defense and Space Inc. headquarters in Herndon, VA. With this leadership change, Airbus Helicopters Inc.’s government and military programs including the UH-72A Lakota and business functional roles supporting them will move to Airbus Defense and Space Inc., reporting to Emerson. The programs and employees transitioning to Airbus Defense and Space Inc. will continue operations in Grand Prairie, Texas. 

“Chris has been a consistently strong performer and leader here at Airbus. His diverse leadership background in finance and marketing, as well as his insight across the broad portfolio of Airbus products will help position us for renewed growth in the North American defense market,” said Jeff Knittel, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas.

“I am excited about this new chapter at Airbus. We are in a great position to transform how we conduct our day-to-day operations and deliver world class products and services for our defense and homeland security customers,” Emerson said. “To address the emerging markets and challenging requirements of our customers, we will build upon the successes of our existing platforms as we strive to become the benchmark for the Defense Department commercially derivative acquisitions.”  

He was selected as President of Airbus Helicopters Inc., in 2015 after serving as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Airbus Commercial Aircraft in Toulouse, France. Previously, Emerson was EADS North America/Airbus Group’s Chief Financial Officer charged with leading the company’s partnership with Northrop Grumman in the U.S. Air Force’s Tanker competition.  

Emerson graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in International Finance. He completed an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloane School of Management. He is married and has two daughters.

Based in Herndon, Virginia, Airbus Defense and Space Inc. provides the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security with fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, homeland security systems, public safety communications, space systems, defense electronics, avionics, and threat detection systems.