Airbus Launches Strategic Review of Its Operations
Matthew Greenwood posted on January 15, 2019 |
Exercise will outline the challenges for the planemaker under incoming CEO Guillaume Faury.

Under a cloud of management feuds and an ongoing corruption investigation, Airbus is conducting an extensive review of its entire business in order to present a clean slate to the company’s new CEO. Guillaume Faury, currently the President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, was selected in October by the Airbus board to succeed Tom Enders in April 2019.

The “Airbus Next Chapter” review will be led by Julie Kitcher, Senior Vice President and Head of Investor Relations and Financial Communication. Kitcher’s team of planners will be working outside of normal company strategy channels. Airbus hopes the review sends a positive signal to financial markets that the company has a long-term strategy to deal with its problems and implement a modernization strategy that some analysts think is long overdue.

While Airbus has risen to become one of the top planemakers in the world—and one of Europe’s leading exporters—the company’s growth has been hampered by internal personal rivalries and the bribery investigation that has led to several key managers departing the organization.

DJ’s Aviation discusses the future of Airbus.

One of the review’s possible targets could be how to meet demand for its planes by ramping up production—particularly the A320, Airbus’ most profitable plane. A potential solution would be a fragmented production system across Britain, France, Germany and Spain, which company leadership has been reluctant to consider in the past.

Another potential problem to address: the company is perceived to have fallen behind archrival Boeing in its manufacturing technology. Boeing is investing in state-of-the-art technologies to boost competitiveness, such as its recent selection of Siemens USA to implement new automation solutions in its manufacturing systems.

The review may offer a strategy for Airbus to modernize its own production to keep up with Boeing, as well as compete with Silicon Valley for digital talent. The turnover in management could provide an opportunity to change the company culture to foster innovation. Faury has already brought in executive search firm Egon Zehnder—choosing them over other firms Airbus has employed in the past—to identify new blood to replace retiring executives in the company.

Airbus has declined to comment officially on the review. But Faury appears to be committed to introducing a new mindset in the company—and Airbus leadership is on board. “With his strong values and international mindset, Guillaume stands for the new generation of leaders that Airbus needs for the coming decade,” said Enders on Faury’s selection as his replacement.

Read more about Airbus at The Strange-Looking Airbus BelugaXL Completes Its Maiden Flight.

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