Airbus Said to Hand Group COO Title to Planemaking Chief BregierBy and
New role will knit jetliner division more closely to parent
Executive will be CEO’s deputy while keeping current post
Fabrice Bregier, who runs Airbus Group SE’s planemaking arm, will get an additional job as chief operating officer of the parent company, people with knowledge of the plan said.
The move is aimed at tying the group’s biggest and most profitable division more closely to its parent, while making Bregier the effective deputy to Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders, according to the people, who asked not to be named as the plan hasn’t been made public.
Bregier, 55, will remain CEO of the Airbus jetliner unit, which generates about 70 percent of group sales, while extending his responsibilities across the full span of the Toulouse, France-based company’s activities including helicopters, missiles, drones and space launchers, the people said.
Europe’s largest aerospace manufacturer currently has no COO position, with operating control largely devolved to unit chiefs such as Bregier, who report to Enders along with group-level executives in charge of financial, legal, human resources and other functions.
Airbus spokesman Rainer Ohler declined to comment on management changes.
Enders said Monday that the group planned to restructure its management and organization to help reduce costs and eliminate duplication of some roles and functions. Airbus has had a particularly unwieldy organization after initially having two headquarters and two CEOs to reflect its Franco-German nationality. Even after the company adopted a unitary structure the planemaking arm dominated the rest of the group and had a parallel management.
Frenchman Bregier is already a member of the group’s executive council and has formerly run the wholly owned helicopter division as well as MBDA, a missile-maker in which the company has a 35 percent stake. He began his career as a nuclear engineer and has also worked with the French agriculture ministry and as an adviser to government minister.
Enders, a German, was CEO of the Airbus unit immediately prior to Bregier. The company typically alternates the group leadership role between German and French executives, with Enders himself succeeding Louis Gallois in 2012. That’s likely to make Bregier a potential candidate once the 57-year-old stands down.