Senior Airbus executive Julian Whitehead has been appointed as the new president of ADS.

Whitehead will carry out his presidency of the trade organisation alongside his current position as Executive Vice President Global Business and Strategic Programmes at Airbus Defence and Space. He has worked at Airbus since 2012, with his earlier career including roles with ADS members MBDA and BAE Systems. Whitehead will hold the post for two years until the end of 2023.

As President, he will lead the ADS Board, which includes Vice Presidents representing each of the Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors, as well as representatives from across the membership. Whitehead replaces Meggitt Chief Executive Tony Wood who has held the post since the start of 2020.

Recovery from pandemic and decarbonisation are key priorities

ADS President Julian Whitehead said: “ADS represents some of the UK’s most innovative, successful and economically important sectors and it is a privilege to be appointed ADS President at such an important time. There has never been a more vital moment for our trade association to focus on delivering the expert support our members need.”

“Over the next two years we must continue to support our four sectors as we recover from the impact of the pandemic, while taking opportunities to innovate and grow on the global stage as we support the UK’s decarbonisation and digitalisation ambitions.”

“I would also like to thank my predecessor Tony Wood for his energetic contribution to supporting our industries through the unprecedented challenges over the last two years brought by the coronavirus pandemic.”

GKN President Civil Aerospace John Pritchard is appointed ADS Vice President, Aerospace, and Raytheon UK CEO Jeff Lewis is appointed ADS Vice President, Defence, both to serve a three-year term. Michael Clayforth-Carr of Leonardo continues as ADS Vice President, Security. The process to appoint a new ADS Vice President, Space, will conclude shortly.

ADS Chief Executive Kevin Craven said: “Julian Whitehead will bring strong leadership and a wealth of experience of our industries to the role of ADS President, and I look forward to working with him to support our members.”

“Next two years vital for ambitions around net zero”

Jeff Lewis

“The next two years will be vital to the achievement of major national ambitions around net zero, Global Britain and levelling up, and our industries have important roles to play. In 2022 we will be fully focussed on helping our members by providing the expertise, representation, and opportunities to network and access new business that they need to prosper and grow.”

Jeff Lewis, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Raytheon UK, has been elected to the board as Vice-President for the defence sector. Lewis is an engineer by background and a keen champion of a diverse supply chain ecosystem. He offers extensive experience across the defence and wider critical national infrastructure sectors.

Jeff Lewis, Chief Executive & Managing Director at Raytheon UK: “It is an honour to have joined the ADS Board as Vice President, Defence with such strong backing from its members. I am committed to representing the domestic and international aspirations of the wider ADS membership – and focus on the challenges facing our sector, such as access to skills, barriers to expansion and supply chain diversity and resilience.”

Championing role of SMEs and driving diversity

Lewis has vowed to use the role to champion the role of SMEs as a key part of the industry but also to drive forward diversity and inclusion across the sector. He said: “I am particularly keen to show that we, as an industry, can be truly representative of all sections of society and that we are building a sector that is ready for future growth and attracts talent from across the UK.”

“As Chair of the Defence Sector Board, I will work closely with the ADS Defence Team to deliver an engaging, varied and relevant programme of member meetings and events. I am committed to being accessible to ADS members of all sizes, and I am very keen to hear suggestions from across our membership on how the organisation could evolve to better align to their interests.”

Lewis is also member of the Defence Suppliers Forum (DSF) Executive Group, sits on the Defence Growth Partnership’s Steering Group, chairs the DSF Mid-Tier Group, and works collaboratively across industry and with Government via the UK Defence Solutions Centre and the Defence Industry Liaison Board to support UK industry and exports. He joined Raytheon UK in 2019 as Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for manufacturing, programme leadership, quality, facilities, Environmental Health & Safety, IT and the Raytheon UK transformation programme.

Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter