SOURCE: Institutional Investor

Institutional Investor

March 25, 2014 03:00 ET

Airbus Group Leads Institutional Investor's 2014 All-Europe Executive Team

Iberdrola, Technip and Roche Holding Also Earn High Marks in Annual Analyst-Perception Survey

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Mar 25, 2014) - Airbus Group, the commercial aircraft and defense company, has the top-rated management of any major European company, according to Institutional Investor's annual ranking of corporate leaders as seen through the eyes of investment professionals.

Complete survey results can be found here.

Institutional Investor asked portfolio managers and sell-side analysts to name the best CEOs, CFOs, and investor-relations professionals at the European companies they cover, and to evaluate these companies on their performance in each of eight attributes, including access to senior management, quality and depth of answers to inquiries, transparency of financial reporting and disclosure, and so on.

Airbus's chief executive officer, Thomas Enders, is regarded as the top CEO in the Aerospace & Defense sector by both buy-side analysts at leading investment management companies and sell-side analysts at securities firms. Both sides also name Airbus's Harald Wilhelm as the top chief financial officer in the sector, and give top marks to the company's investor relations team and its top IR professionals, Philippe Balducchi and Julie Kitcher. That clean sweep makes Airbus the Most Honored Company in the ranking.

Iberdrola, the Spanish electric utility, ranks second on the Most Honored list, followed by Technip, the French oil services company; Roche Holding, the Swiss pharmaceutical maker; and Vodafone Group, the U.K. mobile telecoms operator.

Analysts recognize these companies for taking firm action to ensure that their companies have the right product mix and geographic presence to generate growth and shareholder returns in an environment where the European economy is expected to recover at only a modest pace. Last year Airbus agreed to change its name from European Aeronautic and Defense Space Co. and consolidate its defense and space activities in a single division to cut costs and underscore the importance of the group's dominant business, producing civil airliners.

"We just faced reality," the CFO says, "both in terms of the budget situations in our countries but also the enhanced competition in exports." The group needed to slash costs and streamline the military business while doing as much as possible to leverage the strength of the commercial aircraft division. "The common denominator is, face reality," CFO Wilhelm, 48, tells II. "Be hands-on, don't spend too much time with the long-term-strategy vision type of thing, but really enhance the margins of the company, the cash flows. And it's been important to show clearly to investors how we're doing."

Survey results reflect the opinions of 832 buy-side analysts and money managers at 457 firms, and roughly 1,238 analysts from 139 brokerages and independent investment firms. Votes from buy- and sell-side participants are tabulated separately.

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