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Sales Shake-Up And Leaner Structure Unveiled By Airbus

Sales Shake-Up And Leaner Structure Unveiled By Airbus
Including a shift in the reporting line for its key commercial sales team to group CEO Tom Enders, Airbus completed a recent merger between its parent company and its dominant planemaking arm, as the company rolled out a leaner new structure on Monday.
The potential about a possible power struggle with long-standing airplanes boss Fabrice Bregier, though Airbus denied any tensions due to the move has raised concerns among some insiders and customers.
With Bregier confirmed as group-wide chief operating officer and president of commercial aircraft, the "one Airbus" reorganization involves a single headquarters in Toulouse, France, and this move cements changes that were first outlined last year.
"We need to become more integrated, more collaborative and less bureaucratic for speedier decision-making and execution," Enders said in a letter to employees.
Preparing for digital innovations sweeping through industry and turning the former European consortium - with a history of strong French and German government influence - into a more normal company, are the aims of the design of the revamp, which saves hundreds of millions of euros in overheads.
Its commercial sales team would now report directly to Enders and by-pass Bregier, Airbus said in an unexpected adjustment.
Bregier was given responsibility of over all planemaking activities in a power-sharing deal between the German Enders and Frenchman Bregier and the decision is seen as sensitive because it revisits that power-sharing deal.
Bregier would lead programs, support and services, engineering, manufacturing, procurement and quality, in his commercial aircraft role, Enders said
"However, due to the heavy operational challenges in our largest revenue-driving business, and to slightly rebalance our internal burden-sharing, I will lead sales and marketing," he said in his letter.
The future of Bregier, an industrial and marketing heavyweight whose ties to Enders are seen as key to Airbus's ability to smooth output and face a resurgent Boeing, was put in doubt by that decision which also sent tremors though the commercial arm.
"People are very surprised. There is no doubt that this is an important step," a person close to the company said.
Given well-established relations between many airlines and Bregier, a jet financier expressed "surprise" at the move.
"It is creating a culture in which people will go back to 'Germans versus French' and people having to choose which camp they are in. It is not good for morale or the culture of the company," said a person with detailed knowledge of the group.
With the CEO role shared between two people, one French and one German, leaders of France and Germany agreed in Toulouse to abolish a system of dual control over the company, ten years ago this day when the new structure was announced.
Analysts say with thousands of jobs at stake, the hands-off approach of Paris and Berlin remains to be tested against a recently softening market for jets, and both have generally had their attention elsewhere during the euro zone crisis.
By writing a letter of support in the familiar 'tu' form to then-presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, which many in Paris saw as a gaffe, Enders appeared to recognize the significance of French politics to Airbus despite resisting interference.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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