(Corrects dates for change of name and governance to 2013-2014,
instead of 2012, paragraph 5)
By Tim Hepher
PARIS, Sept 29 Airbus Group SAS is likely to
merge with its main planemaking unit, Airbus SAS, as part of a
corporate restructuring being finalised on Thursday, people
familiar with the matter said.
The restructuring aims to simplify a top-heavy corporate
structure inherited from the group's complex origins as a group
of separate aerospace firms, and consolidate its position as a
European aerospace champion anchored in Toulouse, France.
A spokesman for Airbus Group declined to comment.
The merger of the operational parent and jetmaking unit into
one company called "Airbus" rekindles an idea debated over a
decade ago, but abandoned amid disagreements among former
managers and shareholders aligned with competing French and
The group changed its name from EADS and overhauled its
governance in 2013-14, limiting the influence of French and
German minority state shareholdings and granting more
independence to management under German-born Chief Executive Tom
But it remained saddled with separate bureaucracies and
confusion over the brand, with the planemaking unit keeping the
core "Airbus" identity and no fewer than five CEOs spread across
the parent company, three units and one geographical division.
Analysts say the reorganisation will reinforce Enders as
sole CEO while removing any ambiguity over his successor, as
planemaking boss Fabrice Bregier steps up to become chief
operating officer of the whole company.
The Frenchman will continue to run jetmaking activities,
which will be solely a division rather than separate entity.
The impact on jobs was unclear but Enders has pledged to
avoid "massive" redundancies among the 137,000 staff.
Nor was it immediately clear how the new structure would fit
under the company's publicly listed legal parent, Airbus Group
SE, based in the Netherlands.
Shares in Europe's rival to Boeing rose 1 percent.
Highlighting its growing international focus, the decision
to streamline the European firm was being thrashed out at a
board meeting at a new Airbus plant in Mobile, Alabama.
Due to be announced as French engineer Alstom remains mired
in a political storm over a factory closure, the reorganisation
will heavily talk up new digital methods, something Enders hopes
will make aerospace stand out from declining industrial sectors.
Sources said on Wednesday the company's defence chief,
Siemens veteran Dirk Hoke, would take a lead role in spreading
digital processes and services across the group.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; editing by John Irish and Alexandra