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Last Updated: Monday, 9 July 2007, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
EADS to simplify board structure
Airbus A380 plane
The flagship Airbus A380 and A350 have been hit by delays
A deal to simplify the dual management structure of aerospace firm EADS could be imminent, officials have said.

Currently, the Franco-German owner of Airbus has two chief executives and two chairmen - one from each country.

This set-up has been highly fractious and blamed for many of Airbus' troubles, including production delays to its flagship A380 passenger jet.

The shake-up will see the firm run by one chief executive and chairman, but no further details have been decided.

French push

The posts of chief executive are currently held by German Thomas Enders and Frenchman Louis Gallois, who also heads up Airbus.

Arnaud Lagardere and Rudiger Grube share the chairmanship.

"No accord has been reached between the French and the German sides notably on the names and notably on the way the governance is organised," a spokesman for French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

The question of ditching the cumbersome management structure has been debated since EADS was set up.

Recently though, it has come to the forefront as its Airbus unit plans a large-scale restructuring programme to cut costs, which includes axing 10,000 jobs.

In-fighting has become common as both German and French executives look to minimise the effects of job cuts on their countries' factories.

President Sarkozy has made it clear that reviving the struggling European planemaker is at the core of his ambitious industrial policy.

He is due to meet his German counterpart Angela Merkel next week to discuss future co-operation between the two countries in the venture.

More competitive

A resolution to the issue would give Airbus a better platform to compete against US rival Boeing, which unveiled its new Dreamliner 787 fuel-efficient plane over the weekend.

EADS was created in 2000 through a merger of France and Germany's biggest aerospace companies.

The French government took a 15% stake in the company while a further 7.5% is held by French media group Lagardere.

The German government has no direct investment in the firm, but German carmaker DaimlerChrysler owns a matching 22.5% of the voting rights.


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