Airbus CEO has board’s confidence: French finance minister

Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus, addresses media during a delivery ceremony of Emirates' 100th Airbus A380 at the German headquarters of aircraft company Airbus in Hamburg-Finkenwerder
Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus, addresses media during a delivery ceremony of Emirates' 100th Airbus A380 at the German headquarters of aircraft company Airbus in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

November 9, 2017

PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus <AIR.PA> CEO Tom Enders has the board’s confidence to handle a crisis over sales practices, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, without saying whether he himself still had confidence in Enders.

Enders has faced pressure over the conduct of an internal investigation into inaccuracies in filings with U.s regulators over arm technology sales.

Asked in an interview with Les Echos and Handelsblatt whether Enders still had his confidence, Le Maire said: “Under Tom Enders’ management Airbus has developed and had commercial success.”

“He has the board of director’s confidence to handle the current situation,” Le Maire added.

France and Germany each hold 11 percent of Airbus.

The German government has rebuffed speculation about Enders future after media reports of a French campaign to oust him and restore greater political influence, four years after its management won independence from government interference.

French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine said last week that President Emmanuel Macron hoped to find a French replacement for German-born Enders, amid growing turmoil at the company.

Le Maire said that though it was up to the company’s board to manage the company, that did not stop the government from “taking its prerogatives as a shareholder”.

He added that he had written to Airbus Chairman Denis Ranque seeking information about the situation and proposals to bring the company in line with national and international rules.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Michel Rose)