Airbus Set To Name A New Manager

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Airbus SE EADSY -1.21% is poised to name the head of the plane making unit and effective No. 2, Guillaume Faury, as its next chief executive, two people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Faury is set to replace Tom Enders, who in December said he wouldn’t seek a new mandate when his current term expires next year. The announcement could come as early as Monday, the people said.

Airbus had said it would seek to name the replacement for Mr. Enders before year-end.

Mr. Faury, 50, is being tapped to take the top job at Airbus, the world’s No. 2 plane maker after Boeing Co. BA -0.90% , at a time of rising plane deliveries and a backlog of more than 7,300 plane orders—equivalent to nine years of production. But the company also has struggled to build some of the planes, causing delayed deliveries and angering airline customers.

Airbus this year is expected to deliver a company record number of airplanes and has promised to ship around 800 airliners. But reaching that target remains a challenge after months of delayed deliveries because of supplier bottlenecks, particularly with the engines for its popular A320neo single-aisle plane. At the end of September, the company was still short around 300 plane deliveries to meet the full-year goal that is critical to cash flow.

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Chief rival Boeing also has suffered missteps. The company has fallen behind on deliveries of its 737 narrowbodies, though vowed to meet its target of handing over 810 to 815 jetliners in 2018.

Strong demand for new jetliners has lifted Airbus and Boeing shares. Airbus stock has risen more than 284% since Mr. Enders took over in 2012 and is up around 25% this year. The stock opened 1% higher early Monday.

At Airbus, Mr. Faury will also have to deal with the legacy of protracted investigation in several jurisdictions, including the U.S., France, and U.K., over the company’s potential misuse of middlemen to secure overseas deals. The company has said it is cooperating with the investigations and warned it could face significant fines.

Airbus has seen significant changes in its top ranks amid a generational shift. Along with Mr. Enders, Fabrice Brégier, who ran the plane making unit before Mr. Faury, has departed and Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm has announced plans to exit next year.

The company also replaced its chief plane salesman twice this year. Last month, Christian Scherer returned to Airbus as chief salesman after the Eric Schultz, who had joined from aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC.

French newspaper Le Figaro first reported the planned leadership transition.

 

 

 

Mr. Faury took over the commercial plane unit, which delivers the bulk of Airbus sales and profit, in February. He previously ran the European aerospace giant’s helicopter business for about five years.

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