Shakeup at EADS Airbus Undoes Management Knot

EADS has decided to get rid of its cumbersome dual-management structure. Tom Enders is to be Airbus CEO, while Louis Gallois gets the top job at EADS.

Too many CEOs spoil the broth, could be an updated version of the old saying. And at the troubled European aerospace company EADS, two CEOs certainly appeared to be one too many. Now the Franco-Germany company will look more like a normal firm, with a mere one CEO each at EADS and Airbus.

EADS announced Monday that it would be streamlining its complicated dual-management system. Frenchman Louis Gallois will be the sole EADS CEO in the future, while German Tom Enders will be CEO of Airbus. Until now, Gallois and Enders were co-CEOs of EADS, with Gallois also CEO of Airbus.

Rüdiger Grube from EADS shareholder Daimler will be the sole EADS chairman, replacing the two co-chair positions under the current system.

"It is a good decision for the company as a whole, a good decision for me because it is here at Airbus where the future challenges are, where the future competitiveness of the company as a whole will be determined," Enders told reporters Monday. It was not clear when the re-shuffle would take place exactly, but Enders said it would be "very soon."

The move is intended to end the management problems that have plagued the company. EADS has suffered from a series of mishaps over the past two years at Airbus, including delays to the A380 superjumbo and revelations of management errors and technical problems. EADS announced 10,000 job cuts over four years across Europe earlier this year in a bid to cut costs and get the company back on track.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are meeting later on Monday  at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse to discuss the plight of EADS. They are expected to rubber stamp the re-shuffle agreement, officials said. Sarkozy has been pushing for changes at the beleaguered company, calling for changes to the EADS management structure when he was elected in May.

dgs/ap/reuters

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