The fate of Sean O’Keefe, CEO of EADS North America, who was among those on the de Havilland DHC-3 Otter than crashed and killed five of the nine people on board, remains unknown. Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, for whom O’Keefe once worked, was killed, according to NBC and CBS news.
O’Keefe reportedly was traveling with his son. The elder O’Keefe often accompanied Stevens on fishing trips.
EADS NA is in a controversial and bitter competition with The Boeing Co. to win the contract for the KC-X USAF aerial tanker. Whether O’Keefe was among those killed or serious injuries require a long recovery period, his absence from the EADS leadership is unlikely to affect the company’s effort to win the contract.
When O’Keefe was named CEO in October 2009, the man he replaced, Ralph Crosby, moved up to chairman of EADS NA. Crosby continued to be active in the tanker effort. While O’Keefe has strong government ties, including his service with Stevens and as head of NASA, Crosby is an alum of Northrop Grumman prior to his being named CEO of EADS NA and likewise knows his way around the Pentagon and The Hill.
Crosby will undoubtedly step back in to fill O’Keefe’s position, either on an interim basis should O’Keefe be among those killed, or during O’Keefe’s recovery.