Airbus chief for North America O'Keefe stepping down because of plane crash injuries

HERNDON, Va. – The head of the Airbus unit that handles business in North America is stepping down because of injuries he received in the 2010 Alaska plane crash that killed former Sen. Ted Stevens.

Sean O’Keefe has run the North America unit since 2009, during a time when Europe-based Airbus expanded its U.S. presence. O’Keefe’s tenure included Airbus’ decision to build a new factory in Alabama, and its competition to build a new U.S. Air Force tanker, which Airbus ultimately lost to Boeing.

Airbus says the 57-year-old O’Keefe is stepping down March 1 “to fully address ongoing medical issues” from injuries in the crash, which killed five people, including Stevens.

He will be replaced by 71-year-old Allan McArtor, who is currently chairman of Airbus Americas.