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Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury is to leave his position and become president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft from February 2018, Airbus announced on Dec. 15.
Faury will replace Fabrice Bregier (himself a former head of Airbus’ helicopter business), who is going to pursue “other interests.” The moves take place amidst a top management crisis at Airbus, as the company is facing corruption allegations and other regulatory scrutiny in multiple countries.
“I am honored to have been entrusted with this new challenge, and I look forward to leading the inspiring commercial aircraft business of Airbus,” said Faury.
“Until then, I’ll continue to focus on achieving our year-end objectives here at Airbus Helicopters,” he added.
His successor will be decided and announced “in the coming weeks,” Airbus said. “Guillaume . . . has demonstrated broad business and industry experience, an international mindset, and a clear focus on delivering value during his tenure at the helm of our helicopter business,” Airbus chief executive officer Tom Enders said.
Faury marked a change of style when he replaced a flamboyant Lutz Bertling as CEO of then-Eurocopter in May 2013. He was technologically less ambitious and simultaneously more cost-conscious. The H160, albeit innovative, still has a conventional cockpit, unlike the revolutionary helicopter Bertling had in mind. The H160, somewhat Faury’s baby, can be seen as the first in a new generation of Airbus rotorcraft, more focused on user experience.
Faury advocated the use of production processes inspired from the automotive sector. After having left Eurocopter a first time in 2008, he had spent four years with car manufacturer Peugeot. The H160’s assembly line is said to have a greater level of automation, inspired by the automotive sector.
As Airbus Helicopters’ CEO, Faury faced fatal Super Puma crashes and the resulting technical and reputational storm. He also had to cope with a major downturn on the helicopter market, but he managed to increase market shares, including a recent rebound in H225 sales.
Last month, he announced the termination of the H120 program, citing a dichotomy between the lower end of the light single market and the company’s “high added value” products.
Separately, he fully supported the change of name to Airbus Helicopters four years ago.
Moving from Marignane to Airbus Commercial Aircraft’s Toulouse headquarters, Faury will reunite with Jean-Brice Dumont, who is taking over as head of engineering at Airbus Commercial Aircraft after having had the same job at Airbus Helicopters, until February this year.