Airbus: Brégier, Enders has 18 months to complete its mandate


by Cyril Altmeyer and Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus (PA:AIR) has confirmed the imminent departure of his number two, Fabrice Brégier, cutting thus the conflict between president executive Tom Enders, who thus gets a free hand to complete his second and now final term in 2019.

The european leader in aerospace, which runs through its most severe crisis in ten years, has been entrusted by the boss of Airbus Helicopters Guillaume Faury care to succeed Fabrice Brégier at the head of the commercial aircraft Airbus, by far the largest division of the group.

According to several sources, the French Fabrice Brégier has not managed to obtain the support of the Elysée and his compatriot Denis Ranque, chairman of the board of directors, reinforcing the cultural change desired by Tom Enders, who has transformed a group dominated by Paris and Berlin, in a more normal.

Sandy Morris, analyst at Jefferies, Airbus may more and more resemble its rival Boeing (NYSE:BA)

“We are not so naive as to consider that also large companies can be liberated from any political consideration, but a government monitoring Boeing is very different from two european governments, or more, overseeing Airbus,” he wrote in a note.

“The succession plan management today announced sooner than we expected – could allay this concern”.


A 56-year-old Fabrice Brégier was presented as the natural heir of Tom Enders after having orchestrated the ramp-up smoothly from the long-haul A350, far from the tribulations of the super jumbo A380 in the 2000s, as well as the transition of the A320 and the A330 to their new versions remotorisées under the name “neo”.

“I understand the decision of Fabrice and his motivations and frankly, I would not have acted otherwise”, said Tom Enders was quoted in the press release of Airbus.

The board of directors will evaluate the potential candidates to succeed Tom Enders, who has decided not to run for a third term in April 2019.

The group does not mention replacing the post of Fabrice Brégier as deputy director general of the entire group Airbus, Guillaume Faury, focusing on the presidency of the pole of commercial aircraft.

Guillaume Faury, age 49, passed by PSA (PA:PEUP), has orchestrated the expansion of the range of helicopters to Airbus, while managing a slowdown in a key segment of the market, the oil and gas sector.

Airbus has indicated in its press release that the officer French told the board that he did not wish to take part in the selection process of the new executive chairman. He will leave his duties “to seize new opportunities,” added the group.

The name of Fabrice Brégier is associated in the press with the power group, Engie (PA:ENGIE), itself in the midst of a transition in management with the departure in may of its president, Gérard Mestrallet, reached the age limit.

It is the fourth departure in the direction of Airbus announced since the beginning of the year after those of the head of strategy Marwan Lahoud in February, commercial director John Leahy and the director of technology Paul Eremenko.

(Edited by Gilles Guillaume)

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