Airbus has announced the appointment of Christian Scherer as CEO of its core planemaking operation, a position that has been vacant for the past four years. Scherer, who is currently the company’s sales chief, will take up the role from January 1, 2022, after discussions with unions. This move will allow group CEO Guillaume Faury to focus on steering the company in a “fast-evolving global environment” and managing its wider portfolio. The appointment of Scherer, a career-long insider, will bring continuity to Airbus’ main commercial arm, which generates about 70% of the company’s revenues and competes with Boeing.
The shake-up comes at a time when the aerospace industry is facing disruption in the global supply chain. Airbus aims to deliver 720 jets this year and plans to increase its single-aisle jet output by 50% to 75 planes per month by 2026. The appointment of Scherer as CEO will provide room for operational leadership renewal, considering upcoming retirements within the company.
While the move brings back a separate planemaking CEO, it does not indicate the re-creation of two separate entities within Airbus. The company insists that it is not trying to recreate the era of chronic in-fighting in the past. The shake-up is seen as a cautious compromise between reinstating separate management and creating a holding structure reminiscent of former parent company EADS. Airbus aims to maintain alignment and speed of execution during a period of multiple crises and change, according to CEO Guillaume Faury. Analysts suggest that the split of the two roles will provide more management time for important topics such as supply chains and military strategy.