September 28, 2018 / 11:57 AM / 19 days ago

Exclusive - Insider favoured as Airbus speeds CEO search: sources

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus is moving swiftly towards appointing planemaking head Guillaume Faury as its next chief executive after accelerating the search for a successor to outgoing Tom Enders to address a growing leadership vacuum, people familiar with the matter said.

Logo of Airbus is seen as an Airbus Beluga XL transport plane prepares to take off during its first flight event in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, July 19, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

The board could announce a decision within weeks, ahead of its end-year target, as the European planemaker juggles a trio of pressures from management changes, industrial delays and a paralysing corruption probe, they said. Airbus declined comment.

Faury, 50, was appointed head of the core planemaking business last December after Fabrice Bregier agreed to quit following a power battle with Enders, in a shake-up that also saw Enders draw back from plans to seek a third term in 2019.

The main external candidate, Thales Chief Executive Patrice Caine, is reluctant to leave the French defence company but could do so if asked to by the French government, reports say.

The timing of the transition was not immediately clear, but two sources familiar with the company said it had not been excluded that Faury would become CEO as early as this year, advancing plans for a handover at a May 2019 shareholder meeting.

The board could make a final decision by a Nov 13 meeting.

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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