Surprise, surprise: Airbus CEO Tom Enders is to be the new chief executive of the European airframer’s parent group EADS, succeeding Louis Gallois, who is due to step down—at the end of his mandate—after the company’s annual general meeting on May 31.
The EADS board of directors has chosen Tom Enders to assume the role of CEO when Louis Gallois steps down at the end of his mandate on May 31. Now the CEO of Airbus, Enders will take over EADS for a new five-year term under the company’s bylaws.
At face value, Europe’s EADS group appeared to come off slightly worse than its U.S. rival Boeing from financial results announced in late July. EADS reported a 23-percent drop in operating profits for the first half of this year, compared with a 22-percent decline at Boeing over the same period.
The next 30 days or so will be critical to the future of Airbus and its EADS parent company as top executives struggle to push through the core elements of the European airframer’s Power8 restructuring plan.
Both Boeing and Airbus have come to the Paris Air Show without permanent leaders. EADS has missed its target of June 1 to find a successor for Nöel Forgeard at Airbus and to complete its own management restructuring. Forgeard in effect still acts as CEO of Airbus while serving alongside Thomas Enders as co-chief executives of EADS.
Airbus will launch the A350 airliner in September regardless of whether the transatlantic trade dispute over airliner subsidies has been settled by then. Airbus chief executive and EADS co-CEO Noël Forgeard yesterday admitted that the company did indeed delay the launch of the A350 to allow the subsidy negotiations between the European Union and the U.S. to advance further.
EADS plans to appoint a British board member in the event BAE Systems goes forward with its sale of its 20-percent stake in the European conglomerate, company co-CEOs Louis Gallois and Tom Enders confirmed here during a morning press conference yesterday. Nevertheless, Enders made it clear that he has grown tired of the nationalistic politics that seem so fundamental to any discussion about the composition of EADS and its board.
EADS executives can talk all they want about refusing to allow the Farnborough airshow to dictate the timing of their decisions, but in their current predicament they simply don’t enjoy the luxury of ignoring the opportunity to claw back some credibility here this week.
Employees at EADS Sogerma Services’ Merignac aircraft maintenance near Bordeaux in southwest France still have jobs thanks to French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. EADS’ top management caved in to De Villepin’s demands that they abandon plans to shut the loss-making facility, agreeing to a temporary reprieve and the salvation of some jobs.