Airbus CFO Harald Wilhelm announced he will leave the company in early 2019 with CEO Tom Enders.

“After 18 years in the Airbus finance function, next year will be the right time for me to move on,” Wilhelm said in a statement. “Until then, I remain committed to the performance of the company and I will work with the management to ensure a smooth transition to the next Airbus CFO.”

Wilhelm’s decision makes the leadership transition at Airbus even more far reaching than originally thought.

At the beginning of the year, both Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Fabrice Bregier and long-time sales chief John Leahy left the company. Bregier had been told he was not considered for the Airbus CEO position; Leahy retired.

Most importantly, Enders late last year also announced his departure for April 2019 at the company’s next annual general meeting for shareholders.

Wilhelm has been a driving force behind efforts to make Airbus business practices more transparent and to overcome corruption probes in both France and the UK into alleged misconduct and the use of so-called “business partners” that Wilhelm and Enders stopped in late 2014.

Wilhelm has not only been one of Enders’ closest aides in addressing the compliance shortcomings, he was also a key figure in the integration of the company. Wilhelm has served as CFO of the commercial aircraft unit for 10 years and took on more responsibilities as group CFO six years ago.

Along with Airbus head of human resources Thierry Baril, he became the first senior executive with dual roles. Last year, Airbus finally merged the group with the largest unit.

Airbus says it will name a new CEO by the end of the year. The board stated May 14 that it will now start the search for a new CFO and that an announcement will be made “in due time.”

Jens Flottau/Aviation Week jens.flottau@aviationweek.co.uk