Onward and upward

After nearly 35 years of service to Airbus, I’ve made the decision to depart from my beloved Airbus family and my current role as CEO at Acubed to start a new professional adventure to boost zero emission aviation. Going forward, two Acubed talents, Zsolt Lattmann and Paige Stanton Wilson, will take our innovation center forward as the CEO and COO, respectively.

Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher who lived around 500 BC, once famously said: “the only thing that is constant is change”. While I have had an extremely rewarding and varied career at Airbus for the last three decades, I can’t help but recognize the speed at which our industry is accelerating its response to the growing concern over climate change, which has been further bolstered by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to play a more direct role in decarbonizing the aviation industry, I’m extremely excited to announce that I will join Universal Hydrogen, a startup with the ambition to make carbon-free, hydrogen-powered commercial flight a near-term reality, as their VP of Engineering. I can’t wait to get back to my engineering roots, and also to give Acubed talents the opportunity to take our brilliant organization forward.

While summing up thirty years in a blog post is neither feasible nor desirable, suffice it to say that I have had the distinct privilege of working with some of the most incredible and accomplished aerospace leaders in my time at the company: Dougie Hunter, Fernando Alonso, Robert Lafontan, Alain De Zotti, Paul Eremenko, Tom Enders and Grazia Vittadini, to name just a few. Working at Airbus has also meant spending twenty great years of my life in Toulouse, the epicenter of aerospace in Europe. It’s been an amazing journey and honor bringing the A380 into service, to work as the Beluga XL Technical Director and take the program from launch to start of conversion in less than two years, to lead the Demonstrators organization and launch the E-Fan X two-megawatt hybrid-electric aircraft program, and most recently, to lead Acubed as CEO.

Acubers—current and past—you are simply the most brilliant, experienced and capable team I have worked with in aerospace innovation. You led the way in kickstarting Urban Air Mobility; you have tested incredibly valuable technologies and business models and also exemplified how to fail fast; you are paving the way for more autonomous commercial flight, the future of air traffic management and the digitization of aviation design and manufacturing processes. It has been a privilege to be part of this journey together with you, and I feel confident that I am leaving you in very capable hands.

Going forward, Zsolt and Paige will take the helm at Acubed as CEO and COO, respectively, with the support of a strong leadership team. They are a talented pair who are complementary to one another and ideally suited for this moment. They have my full confidence and support, alongside that of Acubed’s board and Airbus’ incoming Head of Engineering and Innovation, Sabine Klauke.

Zsolt will bring to the CEO position his leadership experience at Acubed, where for the last five years he has served as Project Executive for the Advanced Digital Design and Manufacturing (ADAM) initiative. His professional experience and his know-how in combining software and hardware solutions make him ideally positioned to lead Acubed in its mission to leverage the unique strengths of the Silicon Valley ecosystem to accelerate aerospace innovation.

As COO, Paige will bring to the role business acumen, communications expertise and well over a decade of experience in Airbus’ divisions and headquarters in Europe supporting various research and innovation executives and initiatives. She will work closely with Zsolt to enable Acubed to continue delivering on its mission.

Silicon Valley remains an unfaltering, rich source of talent for Airbus, and I’m confident that Acubed will continue to build upon its legacy of cutting-edge technology development for the benefit of Airbus at large. It has been an absolute honor to serve this brilliant and dynamic organization as CEO for the last two and a half years, and I look forward to seeing everything the future holds post-pandemic for the industry, Airbus and Acubed.

Acubers, keep on pioneering.

- Mark Cousin