Airbus chief executive steps down as under-fire company revamps management

The chief executive of Airbus is to step down in 2019 as the aircraft-maker shakes up management amid multiple corruption investigations.

Tom Enders, who will have been at the helm of Airbus and defence firm EADS for 14 years, will not seek another term when his current tenure expires, the company said.

He has been a key figure as Airbus jockeyed with US rival Boeing over the past decade to be the world’s top-selling plane maker.

The 59-year-old said Airbus needs "fresh minds for the 2020s".

He said he would use the remainder of his time to ensure a smooth transition and strengthen the company’s ethics and compliance programmes.

Also leaving is the chief operating officer and president of the commercial aircraft division, Fabrice Bregier, who will step down next February.

He will be succeeded by Guillaume Faury, currently chief executive of Airbus Helicopters.

Mr Enders described Mr Faury as part of "the next generation of leaders", which could suggest he is being groomed to eventually take over as boss of the overall Airbus Group.

The announcement came weeks after Airbus announced it is replacing its combative, long-serving sales chief, John Leahy.

He is being replaced by an outside executive, from Rolls Royce.

The big challenge for incoming Airbus management will be legal investigations.

Authorities in Britain and France are investigating alleged fraud and bribery related to Airbus’ use of outside consultants in commercial plane sales.

Airbus has warned that the investigations could lead to "significant penalties" and promised to stop working with middlemen.

Meanwhile, Austria is investigating suspected fraud in the government’s purchase of Airbus combat aircraft.

It’s a bumpy time for Airbus, which recently saw a major deal with Gulf carrier Emirates for A380 superjumbos fall apart at the last minute at the Dubai Air Show.

The airline handed the contract to Boeing instead.

Shares were little changed today, as management changes were expected.

Airbus had revenue of €67 billion last year and employs 134,000 staff worldwide.



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