Airbus Group, formerly known as EADS, and Airbus Commercial Aircraft are to merge into a single entity, with Tom Enders maintaining his role as CEO and Fabrice Brégier taking up a new position as group COO and Airbus Commercial Aircraft president.

“The merger of Airbus Group and Airbus paves the way for an overhaul of our corporate set-up, simplifies our company’s governance, eliminates redundancies and supports further efficiencies, while at the same time driving further integration of the entire group. The other two divisions, Defence and Space led by Dirk Hoke and Helicopters led by Guillaume Faury, remain integral parts of the group and will derive considerable benefit from the merger through more focused business support and reduced costs,” Enders said in a statement issued on Sept. 30.

The proposed changes, which were approved by Airbus Group’s board on the evening of Sept. 29, will introduce a single Airbus brand for the group and all its entities, effective January 2017.

Airbus Commercial Aircraft is “by far” the group’s largest contributor in terms of turnover and financial results. Enders said the integration will cut bureaucracy and lead to a simpler and leaner organization.

In July, Airbus announced plans to digitalize its core processes and tools, streamlining its operations, organization and decision-making. “As COO, Brégier will have group-wide responsibilities, inter alia for reshaping digital operations – the core part of the group’s transformation program – as well as for global supply chain and quality,” Airbus said.

The details of the merger and its resulting impacts will now be discussed with Airbus’ social partners at group, national and divisional level.

Over recent years, Airbus has made several changes to its structure. In 2012, the company combined the HR and finance functions of Airbus Group (then EADS) and Airbus, relocating its group headquarters to Toulouse. In 2013, the group shifted from a Franco-German joint venture to a fully independent board of directors and a free-float of more than 70%. Since then, it has rebranded EADS to became Airbus Group.

Kurt Hofmann and Victoria Moores