Airbus’s board of directors has named current Commercial Aircraft CEO Guillaume Faury to replace Tom Enders as the chief executive of the entire entity. Faury, 50, will succeed the 59-year-old Enders effective April 10, 2019, when the company holds its annual general meeting and shareholders submit Faury as executive member of the board.
“Guillaume is an excellent choice,” said Enders in a statement. “He has gained broad industrial and aeronautic experience over many years and in many roles both inside and outside Airbus. With his strong values and international mindset, Guillaume stands for the new generation of leaders that Airbus needs for the coming decade. He knows he can rely on me to facilitate a smooth transition.”
Following a power struggle with his second-in-command, Commercial Aircraft CEO Fabrice Bregier, and amid new allegations of corruption in overseas sales, Enders announced in December that he would leave Airbus in April 2019. Bregier left the company earlier this year, making way for Faury.
The appointment of Faury should ease concerns about an outsider at the helm of Europe’s largest aerospace company, which continues to struggle with A320neo delays, slow sales of the A330neo, and a lack of new customers for the A380. Airbus also could face a major disruption of its supply chain if the UK exits the EU without a deal at the end of March 2019.
In addition, Faury will need to find replacements for a number of long-time Airbus executives, including CFO Harald Wilhelm, who announced his departure in tandem with Enders. Head of programs Didier Evrard and the chief operating officer of Airbus’s commercial aircraft business, Tom Williams, both 65, are set to retire next year, though Faury has asked them to stay on.
Faury served in various senior management roles at Eurocopter from 1998 to 2008. Starting in engineering, then flight test, he later became executive vice president for commercial programs, then executive vice president for research and development.
In 2009, Faury joined Peugeot, where he served as executive vice president for research and development as a member of the managing board. In May 2013, Faury returned to Airbus as CEO of Airbus Helicopters and in early 2018 he took over Airbus Commercial Aircraft.
“We have diligently prepared for this succession, reaching a unanimous conclusion after a thorough examination of all potential candidates, internal and external,” said board chairman Denis Ranque. “We are delighted to be appointing someone of Guillaume’s caliber to take the helm. His global outlook, extensive operational experience, strong personal values, and straightforward leadership style make him the ideal candidate to rally Airbus teams in the delivery of value to customers, partners and shareholders going forward.”
Airbus also announced on Monday that Denis Ranque will continue as chairman of the board until the end of his mandate in April 2020. At that time and after seven years as chairman, Ranque has requested to leave the board to pursue other interests. Airbus said the board will start the process of choosing a new chairman “in due course,” while respecting “the importance of maintaining international diversity” among the board and management.