Airbus CEO Tom Enders prepares for his departure

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • Search for a successor
  • Enders spoke at length and said 107 words

(exechange) — Amsterdam, Netherlands, December 15, 2017 — Tom Enders, chief executive of Airbus, prepares for his departure. As announced by Airbus SE in a news release on Friday, December 15, 2017, Thomas (Tom) Enders leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the aerospace and defense company after almost seven years in the position.

Tom Enders (59) has advised the Board that he does not wish to seek another term as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) beyond his current mandate which runs until the 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting (April 2019).

Airbus will undertake a search for a successor.

Long goodbye

It is a long goodbye. The announcement of Enders’ move comes up to 16 months prior to his planned departure from his post of CEO.

In general, a top executive who announces the departure very early may be considered a lame duck.

Lengthy lead times give boards extra time to find replacements, and they also create uncertainty. Would-be successors may jockey for attention and workers may wonder who is actually in charge.

Generally speaking, lame-duck leaders can take a forceful role in selecting a successor and are not expected to launch major shifts.

Enders’ move is part of a management shake-up also involving the position of Chief Operating Officer.

“We need fresh minds for the 2020s”

The management change is explained as follows. Tom Enders said: “It’s been a long and exciting journey but now is the time to initiate a leadership change. We need fresh minds for the 2020s.”

Precise information about Enders’ future plans was not immediately available.

Share price rise since March 2009

The change follows a rise in the share price of Airbus SE since March 2009.

Chaired by Denis Ranque

Airbus SE is chaired by Denis Ranque.

In the position of CEO since 2012

Thomas Enders was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airbus SE on June 1, 2012, after having been CEO of the Airbus Commercial Aircraft Division since 2007.

Before that he served as Co-CEO of EADS between 2005 and 2007.

He was Head of the Group’s Defence Division from 2000 to 2005.

He has been a member of the Executive Committee of Airbus SE since its creation in 2000.

Prior to joining the aerospace industry in 1991, Enders worked, inter alia, as a Member of the “Planungsstab” of the German Minister of Defence and in various Foreign Policy think tanks.

He studied Economics, Political Science and History at the University of Bonn and at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Enders was President of the BDLI (German Aerospace Industry Association) from 2005 to 2012.

From 2005 to 2009 he was Chairman of the Atlantik-Brücke e.V.

In 2014, Enders joined the Advisory Council of the Munich Security Conference as well as the Senate of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

He is patron of the German Mayday Foundation which supports airmen, women and their families in times of need.

Tom Enders is a member of the BDI Board (German Industry Association) since 2009, the Joint Advisory Council of Allianz SE since 2013 and the Supervisory Board of Linde AG since 2017.

From 2011 to 2015, Tom Enders was a member of the Business Advisory Group of then U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.


Generally speaking, when a top manager announces to step down with no successor available, it is a signal that the move was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Tom Enders’ move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 51.2017 ($).