Airbus searches for new CEO in boardroom shake-up

Airbus searches for new CEO in boardroom shake-up

The aircraft manufacturing firm Airbus is now in a new wave of speculation over the future of some of its senior managers due to corruption charges that have affected the company, adding to the already long-existing clash of egos amongst those at the top.

Board directors meeting on Thursday are seeking to contain damage from multiple worldwide fraud investigations over commercial and military sales, while getting a grip on what could become a chain reaction of departures, insiders said.

So far investors have stuck with the company despite the impact of the investigations and a loss of sales momentum, adding the retirement of some senior members will affect the company further.

"I am personally very grateful to Fabrice for everything he has done for Airbus", Enders said.

Tom Enders plans to step down when his term ends in April 2019, the Toulouse, France-based company said Friday in a statement.

"You may be wondering who will replace me in 2019", Enders said in a letter seen by Reuters shortly after a management shake-up.

"Reports of my demise are premature and exaggerated", he said on the sidelines of an aircraft delivery ceremony in Toulouse on Wednesday.

Mr Enders, who turns 59 this month, has said he is focused exclusively on his mandate to 2019.

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Bregier had always been seen as the natural heir to Enders, but Airbus directors did not support his bid, says the Financial Times.

He has been occasionally linked with energy firm Engie.

Bregier, who heads the commercial planes division, was told earlier this year that he would not get the top job and has been looking for other opportunities since, according to people familiar with the matter.

In his own letter, Bregier thanked staff and called for one last push to meet a "difficult" challenge of reaching a record target of more than 700 jet deliveries in 2017.

Enders acknowledged the friction in a memo to employees, saying he and Bregier have had "a few differences over the years".

The two are now locked in a battle for survival which could leave both of them vulnerable, insiders said.

The inquiries were launched after Mr Enders reported that the company had used secret intermediaries to secure contracts.

Letting the succession drag wasn't an option for the board.

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