Airbus May Concentrate Power in Its New CEO

(Bloomberg) -- Airbus SE could opt to drop the role of commercial aviation chief when incumbent Guillaume Faury is promoted to lead the entire company next year, simplifying the group’s structure amid an ongoing fraud probe.

The move would concentrate power in the hands of Faury as chief executive officer and reinforce the idea that the jetliners arm -- where most of the allegations of financial misdealing have been focused -- should be run as a normal division rather than a business in its own right, a move that began under outgoing CEO Tom Enders.

The current management structure exists only because Airbus was formed from a series of mergers involving a variety European aerospace assets, Faury told journalists on Monday in Toulouse, France. The jetliner unit has historically been the biggest power base within the group, and was itself originally called Airbus when the parent company went by another name.

“Moving forward there are probably simplifications that we can make,” said Faury, who has only run the aircraft arm since February. “Today’s situation reflects the integration that was made between Airbus group and Airbus commercial.”

Faury said he’s seeking to put together a balanced team that can manage all challenges at the commercial-planes arm once he moves on in April. The executive said he’ll begin to focus on preparations for taking over from Enders at the start of next year.

In addition to Faury’s selection in October and Christian Scherer’s appointment as head of sales, Airbus has announced successors for its group chief financial officer and the chief operating officer at the jet unit. It has yet to announce replacements for retiring programs chief Didier Evrard and head of production Mario Heinen.

The company also has no group COO, a company No. 2 position created by Enders and occupied by the commercial aircraft chief as that role became more limited in scope.

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