- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2004

David R. Oliver Jr. is flying high as the newest executive at EADS North America, the Washington subsidiary of the second-largest aerospace and defense company in the world.

Mr. Oliver, 62, has joined the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. as executive vice president and chief operating officer. In addition to being responsible for day-to-day operations, Mr. Oliver said, he will focus on marketing the company to government agencies and organizing programs to optimize their efficiency when carrying out contracts.

EADS North America was formed in 2002 to integrate all U.S. subsidiaries of the aerospace company, which has headquarters in the Netherlands. The U.S. unit operates on $500 million in revenue and employs nearly 2,000 people nationwide.

A week into his position, Mr. Oliver said he will spend considerable time studying the company’s programs and contracts before going after other lucrative clients, such as the Defense Department. The company’s major customer is the Homeland Security Department.

EADS plans to focus primarily on defense technology in its aircraft and surveillance system “because that is our strength,” he said.

Mr. Oliver comes to the position after having spent five months in Iraq as director of management and budget for the Coalition Provisional Authority. In that role, he helped L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, with budget management and converting the country to a new currency.

He has flitted back and forth between jobs in government and the private sector. “I don’t really have a career in mind; I just like to go with the flow,” Mr. Oliver said, adding that “serving for the government, whether it is an employer or client, is probably the highest calling one can have.”

Mr. Oliver, a retired Navy rear admiral, also worked as an independent consultant for several years, advising aerospace, service and venture capital companies.

Ralph Crosby, chairman and chief executive officer of EADS, said he picked Mr. Oliver because of his career background. “His recognized expertise in government program management and acquisition will add significantly to our capabilities as EADS North America positions itself for growth and performance in the near and long term,” he said.

Mr. Oliver lives in Arlington with his wife, Linda.

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