Dov Baharav will be the new chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1), Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz officially announced Sunday night. Baharav, the former president and CEO of Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), is due to replace IAI chairman Yair Shamir in six weeks.
On Thursday, "Globes" revealed that Baharav was the leading candidate for the IAI chairmanship, having won the support of Barak and Steinitz. Baharav's appointment comes after several weeks of uncertainty whether Shamir, IAI's chairman for the past six years, would continue in the job. Barak told Shamir at a meeting last week that he had no intention of appointing him for a third term, and that his job would end in six weeks.
The announcement of Baharav's candidacy took IAI by surprise. Defense industry sources called him "the unnatural candidate" for the job, as he has not experience in the defense industry. A top defense establishment source told "Globes", "It's possible that Baharav did great work during his 20 years at the helm of Amdocs, but he has no experience in arms, he has no defense background, and he does not know IAI, which he is now supposed to lead."
However, other defense establishment sources praised Baharav for his past at Amdocs, where he accumulated vast experience in the management of complex and huge financial systems and for his involvement in high-tech development. "He is the right man in the right place. There is no question that he will know how to adapt to this system and do great things there," , said one Ministry of Defense source close to the matter.
Shamir declined to comment on the developments today, but said that he would work for a smooth transition to Baharav, whom he called "a good friend".
The decision to appoint Baharav comes as talk is rising about the privatization of IAI, which is currently a government company.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 6, 2011
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