José Vicente de los Mozos has arrived through the front door to Indra's executive management and, in just twenty days, he has already knocked on the door and assumed in person the direct command of the national component that pivots on the future European FCAS fighter, a multi-million dollar programme promoted by the governments of Germany, Spain and France.
A 60-year-old executive forged in the national automotive sector, the main purpose of De los Mozos' move as new CEO of the Spanish technology company is to reinforce the management team assigned to the Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS) of the Future Air Combat System (FCAS) and to sanction the creation of the programme's so-called Joint National Office.
Based at Indra's new facilities in Alcobendas, near Madrid, this is an informal organisation that aims to enhance the unity of action of the national aspect of the FCAS. The team is made up of semi-permanent representatives from the programme office headed by Air Force Colonel Luis Villar in the Directorate General of Armament and Material and industry executives.
But there is also a second major general objective: to make it clear to the Ministry of Defence that the multinational company chaired by Marc Murtra is going to make every effort to lead the Spanish companies participating in the development of the future European combat aircraft, which De los Mozos has stated is "the company's top priority". Sources in the sector consider the measure "very positive" and understand that "it is the great project by which the Spanish defence industry and, in particular, Indra, will be judged".
FCAS chief executive officer
The decision of the newcomer to Indra is in line with and has been approved by the Secretary of State for Defence (SEDEF), Amparo Valcarce, who, like minister Margarita Robles, never tires of repeating that the FCAS is "a State project". Its full development by 2040 aims to provide the air forces of Berlin, Madrid and Paris with a sovereign, sustainable system that meets their needs.
The government has made 'a commitment and an investment of 2.5 billion euros to participate in the FCAS at the same level as France and Germany in phase 1B, which is currently underway', the SEDEF stresses. In line with this, the industrial sector must correspond "with a programme structure that allows it to act with a single voice in the international arena, protecting our interests and highlighting your capabilities," Valcarce emphasises.
The measures, changes and appointments that De los Mozos has implemented have already been communicated to the senior executives of the main companies involved in the FCAS, especially Francisco Javier Sánchez Segura, Executive Vice President of Airbus in Spain; Álvaro Santodomingo, Executive Director of the Defence Business Unit of ITP Aero; and Manuel Pérez (GMV), Rafael Orbe (Sener Aeroespacial) and Lluis Furnells (Tecnobit), heads of the Satnus consortium chaired by Carlos Suárez.
Appointed on 18 May by Indra's Board of Directors, but pending ratification by the General Shareholders' Meeting on 30 June, De los Mozos has decided to place himself "personally at the head of the programme as its chief executive".
He is aware that his management at the head of the company will be judged by his results in the FCAS, where his prestige is at stake. That is why his first major step is to accelerate the research, technology and simulation work of phase 1B, which is due to be completed in 2026 with a technology demonstrator in flight.
New engineering organisation
In order to assume full responsibility for a highly complex initiative in terms of management and engineering, the newcomer to Indra and the defence industry has made a thorough search to surround himself with a small collection of new and veteran company executives.
As his right-hand man, he has chosen Sebastián Laiseca, from the company's Strategy area since 2017, who has become the head of the aforementioned Joint Office. He is seconded by Manuel Rodríguez Cerezo, director of the FCAS programme since September 2019, who carries out his function in coordination with the head of the FCAS programme, Colonel Luis Villar.
De los Mozos has established a new engineering organisation, which he has placed in the hands of Miguel García Moreno, a veteran and recognised Indra professional who has taken part in many programmes and knows very well all the company's capabilities and resources. Daniel Lorenzo, who has been with Indra for more than 20 years and played an important role in the Eurofighter fighter, has been retained as Director of Business Development.
The official constitution of the NGWS/FCAS Joint National Office comes on the same day that the Official Defence Gazette published the general guidelines of the Defence Industrial Strategy 2023, which aims to increase the level of strategic autonomy of the national defence industry in order to reduce dependence on third countries and consolidate the industrial and technological base of Defence.
It was only 40 days ago that the meeting of the defence ministers of the three governments promoting the FCAS took place in Madrid, 33 days ago that the Secretary of State for Defence held a meeting with the industry involved in the European fighter and 21 days ago that the French Director General for Armaments, Emmanuel Chiva, visited Spain, where he focused his activity on learning about the capabilities of Spain's military industrial fabric.