Former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe will take the helm of EADS North America Nov. 1, freeing current Chief Executive Officer Ralph D. Crosby to focus on winning its bid with Northrop Grumman to win a U.S. Air Force tanker contract worth approximately $35 billion.

Crosby will remain chairman of the EADS North America board of directors, a position he has held along with chief executive since 2002.

O’Keefe, a former U.S. Navy secretary and deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, was NASA administrator from 2001 to 2005. He comes to EADS North America from General Electric, where he led GE Aviation’s Washington Operations. GE Aviation builds the engines for the Airbus 330, the European-built aircraft on which the Northrop Grumman/EADS KC-45 aerial refueling tanker is based.

The management changes were announced Oct. 20, the day after O’Keefe’s formal portrait was unveiled as NASA headquarters in Washington.