Airbus U.S. Space & Defense pioneers innovation for the nation’s defense industry through its satellite, geospace, intelligence, cyber, space, and communications systems portfolio. The company strengthens the government’s aerospace capabilities by working closely with the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, National Security agencies, and other aerospace-focused partners.
Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.’s Leaders, Founders, Execs: Who Are They?
Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. leaders are dedicated government partners in upholding the nation’s freedom. The company’s executive committee is one of the most trusted leaders in the space and defense communities, providing state-of-the-art technologies, research and development projects, and subject matter expertise.
Robert A. Geckle, Chief Executive Officer
As the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Robert A. Geckle heads all Airbus U.S. companies’ overall operations, activities, strategies, and development, including Airbus Helicopters, Airbus Commercial Aircraft business, and more. He assumed office in October 2021, bringing over 25 years of industry experience.
Before holding the highest leadership role at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Geckle held increasing responsibilities in various Airbus companies. He initially joined the company in 2005 when it was still named European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) NV. Here’s an overlook of Geckle’s professional journey at Airbus:
- Associate General Counsel at EADS NV (2005-2008)
- Senior Legal Counsel in Mergers & Acquisitions at EADS NV (2008-2011)
- Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer at Airbus Americas (2011-2016)
- Senior Vice President, Head of Legal and Industrial Affairs for Europe, North America, and China at Airbus (2017-2020)
- Chief Operating Officer at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense (2020-2021)
- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense (2021-Present)
Earlier in his career, Geckle served as the Corporate Associate of International Business Transactions at Hogan & Hartson for more than five years and the Litigation Associate at Howrey LLP for nearly three years. These experiences have built Geckle’s expertise in mergers, contract negotiation, and international law, where he authored several publications in both English and French.
Cara Sindir, Chief Operating Officer
Overseeing the daily operations, strategy creation, and policy implementation is Chief Operating Officer Cara Sindir. She is an international business leader, mentor, communicator, and problem-solver with over two decades of experience in aerospace, defense, and space markets. Sindir’s expertise encompasses a broad scope of corporate environments across the U.S. and Europe.
Sindir’s leadership at Airbus began in 2012, engaging in marketing, sales, communications, and market forecasting. During her more than a decade of tenure, she has been acclaimed for her contributions, receiving multiple recognitions, such as the Airbus Internal and Jane Defence awards. Take a comprehensive look at her previous experiences at Airbus.
- Team Leader of Global Market Forecasting at Airbus Defence and Space (2012-2014)
- Chief of Staff for Marketing and Sales at Airbus Defence and Space (2014-2015)
- Chief of Staff for Communications, Intelligence, and Security at Airbus Defence and Space (2015-2019)
- Head of Strategy for Marketing and Communications at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense (2019-2021)
- Chief Operating Officer at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense (2021-Present)
Prior to joining Airbus, Sindir was associated with development consulting for various international agencies and nonprofits. Her key topics of interest include women’s rights, children’s rights, international relations, and aviation law throughout Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Uganda, Canada, and the U.S.
Mohamed Denden, Chief Financial Officer
Mohamed Denden is the Chief Financial Officer at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense. He is responsible for all financial activities, such as decision-making, day-to-day oversight, financial target execution, and commercial growth. Denden has been with the organization for nearly 15 years, contributing to various companies under the Airbus Group.
Denden boasts an extensive background in corporate finance, with prior work experience at Lockheed Martin, DRS Technologies, and Deloitte. Having been a part of one of the Big Four accounting firms, he developed qualifications in procurement, controllership, internal audit, and other finance facets. In April 2009, Denden joined Airbus and assumed positions of:
- Finance Director (2009-2013)
- A350 Controller (2013-2015)
- Vice President of Investor Relations (2016-2020)
- Head of Procurement at Airbus Americas (2020-Present)
- Chief Financial Officer at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense
Alex Veneziano, Chief Administrative Office
As the Chief Administrative Officer at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Alex Veneziano manages the legal, ethics, compliance, human resources, and information security departments. In this capacity, he leverages his over a decade of experience in research and development and business management across public and private sectors.
Veneziano’s tenure at Airbus began as Head of Employee Relations and Legal Counsel in 2012. He held this position for nearly eight years before joining Airbus U.S. Space & Defense as the Head of Business Operations and Human Resources in 2020. Veneziano served for a little over a year before assuming his current role as the Chief Administrative Officer.
Veneziano’s earlier experiences include as the Brady K. Howell Fellow for National Security Studies, Research Assistant at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, and Law Clerk at the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of New York.
Russ Matijevich, Chief Innovation Officer
Russ Matijevich has amassed over three decades of experience in space, satellite, and aeronautics of government and private markets. The majority of his professional journey was spent with the Department of Defense, primarily for the Air Force, U.S. European Command, National Reconnaissance Office, Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, and Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Upon his military retirement in 2011, he founded his own company, Matijevich International Consulting, which he runs as the Owner and Chief Executive Officer through the present. Simultaneously, he joined the private sector, assuming crucial management roles at SAIC, Northrop Grumman, HawkEye 360, Radiant Solutions, and BAE Systems, Inc.
In November 2020, Matijevich joined Airbus U.S. Space & Defense as the Head of Systems Engineering. After over a year, he became the Chief Growth Officer in January 2022 and then the Chief Innovation Officer in January 2023. In this capacity, Matijevich leads teams involved in strategy, business development, government relations, marketing, and communications.
Armen Askijian, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Engineering
Armen Askijian has served as the Chief Technology Officer at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense since December 2021. His primary responsibility focuses on offering unique technology solutions for its broad scope of commercial and government clients. Additionally, Askijian’s role includes leading engineering management efforts as the Head of Engineering.
Askijian’s technology expertise runs deep through his trusted experience at the most prominent tech giants, such as Google and OneWeb. His engineering proficiencies also revolve around aerospace and defense enterprises, including a considerable time at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Airbus OneWeb Satellites, and J&J Air.
Boasting over a decade of experience, Askijian has been credited for designing the Airbus OneWeb Generation 1 satellite, a modular platform called Arrow, and the OneWeb Generation 2 satellite constellation. His contributions earned him recommendations for his industry knowledge in mechanism design, professional engineering, and aerospace command.
Gloria Sutton, Chief Security and Facilities Management Officer
Gloria Sutton is the Chief Security and Facilities Management Officer at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense. Her tasks cover industrial, physical, personnel security, and facilities management programs for various company facilities, properties, budgets, and resources. In addition, Sutton assumes the lead position of Facility Security Officer.
Sutton has been with Airbus since March 2005, initially joining as the Assistant FSO. She brings her qualifications in risk management, communications, staff education, disaster preparedness, maintenance, and operations from her previous work at Access Research Corporation as the Junior Help Desk Engineer and Officer Manager.
(Above Executive Photos from Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. Official Website)
Aside from the company’s functional leadership team, Airbus U.S. Space & Defense is led by the board of directors overseeing overall company management, business line leaders managing various Airbus U.S. divisions, and business development leaders handling the company’s growth.
Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. Board of Directors
- The Honorable Franklin C. Miller
- Retired General of the Air Force William L. Shelton
- Retired Rear Admiral of Navy Kevin Sweeney
- Michael Schoellhorn, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space
- Bruno Even, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Helicopters
- Jeff Knittel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Americas
- Jean-Marc Nasr, Executive Vice President of Space Systems of Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. Business Line Leaders
- Debra Facktor, Head of Airbus U.S. Space Systems
- Scott Tumpak, Vice President at Airbus U.S. Military Helicopters
- Jose Antonio de la Fuente, President at Airbus U.S. Military Aircraft
- Didier Cormary, Executive Officer at Airbus U.S. Connected Intelligence
- Brian Zarchin, Vice President of the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. Business Development Leaders
- Aubert Kimbrell, Vice President of Government Relations
- Christopher Demi, Executive Director for Business Development
- Lavanson “LC” Coffey, Executive Director for Customer Engagement
About Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.
Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. is a part of the global aerospace leader, the Airbus Group. The company partners with the United States government to supply industry-leading satellites, geospatial intelligence, cyber communications, and space exploration missions. Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. is devoted to protecting freedom on land, in the air, at sea, in space, and over cyberspace.