March 12, 2018 / 5:35 PM / 9 months ago

Top procurement official quits German defence ministry

BERLIN (Reuters) - The senior official in charge of reforming Germany’s defence procurement processes is leaving her post, Spiegel Online reported on Monday, a setback for attempts to bring order to military buying after repeated cost overruns.

Katrin Suder was appointed armaments state secretary in 2014. The change is a blow for Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who relied heavily on her to streamline and oversee a number of euro programmes, including the Airbus A400M military transporter.

Suder was the chief architect of a series of changes in procurement processes aimed at making the process more transparent and insulating the German government from further massive cost overruns such as those seen on the A400M.

But many new acquisition programmes affected by the changes, including a new missile defence project to be run by European missile maker MBDA and Lockheed Martin Corp of the United States, have been delayed due to the unexpected rigour and requirements of the new processes.

Spiegel quoted ministry sources as saying Suder wanted to spend more time with her family. It said the personnel change will be announced later this week. A spokesman declined comment on the report.

Potential successors for Suder include her deputy, General Benedikt Zimmer, or Lieutenant General Erhard Buehler, who is now diretor general of planning for the ministry.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal

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