(Bloomberg) -- Airbus SE hired Robin Hayes, the former chief executive officer of JetBlue Airways Corp., to lead its operations in North America.

Hayes will replace Jeff Knittel, who is retiring as chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas Inc., the European planemaker said in a statement Monday. He will oversee the North American aircraft unit and be responsible for coordinating among Airbus’s helicopter, space and defense units, the statement said. 

Hayes stepped down as CEO of JetBlue in February, citing health reasons, after leading the carrier through the attempted acquisition of rival Spirit Airlines Inc. The deal fell apart after being blocked by a federal judge. Hayes pursued acquisitions at JetBlue to compete more effectively against the four largest US carriers.

A London native, Hayes became a naturalized US citizen in 2012 and worked at British Airways before joining JetBlue in 2008.

Read More: JetBlue’s Swashbuckling CEO Hayes to Step Down Next Month

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