The move is an interesting twist not only because Lott left the Senate just last December, before new lobbying rules took effect, but also because of his potential role in a $35 billion fight to make new aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force.
EADS and the American defense giant Northrop Grumman won the competition until Boeing successfully protested the award. Now, the Pentagon, citing time restraints, has punted the new competition to the next administration.
Lott, who served 35 years in Congress, was already involved in the tanker competition providing strategic planning and consulting to Northrop Grumman, he told Politico in April. Now, he deepens his ties to the team that plans to build a tanker in Mobile, Ala. Come December, he’ll be able to lobby his former colleagues in the Senate.
As a senator, Lott was an influential player in defense matters and had close ties to Northrop Grumman, which has a large shipbuilding presence along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.
In a statement announcing his appointment, EADS touted Lott’s legislative efforts to boost military pay and develop a new generation of Navy vessels.
“Trent Lott brings unparalleled experience and perspective to the EADS North America Board of Directors following a distinguished career of public service,” said EADS North America Chairman and CEO Ralph D. Crosby Jr. “He will provide invaluable expertise as our company expands its presence in the U.S. defense and homeland security sectors.”