Company insider Guillaume Faury was set to be named as Airbus's next chief executive on Monday, giving him a mandate to fill key posts and address industrial problems at the dominant jets division, people familiar with the matter said.
The 50-year-old Frenchman will replace German-born Tom Enders who is due to retire in April 2019, with an announcement from the Airbus board expected later on Monday, they said.
The timing of the formal handover was not immediately clear.
Airbus declined to comment.
The European aerospace firm's board met on Monday to discuss the transition amid a growing leadership vacuum in the wake of a series of management departures and the pre-announced exit of Enders.
The move comes several months earlier than originally planned as the board grapples with the need to avoid appearing indecisive following months of uncertainty over the upcoming changes, the people said, asking not to be named.
On Sept. 28, Reuters exclusively reported Airbus was moving swiftly towards appointing Faury as its next CEO and could announce a decision within weeks.
Faury 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 the German CEO draw back from plans to seek a third term in 2019.
Pressure to end uncertainty over the CEO post grew with the resignation of Airbus sales chief Eric Schulz in August, with the abrupt departure of the former Rolls-Royce executive strengthening calls for an internal successor to Enders. .
As CEO of Boeing's main rival, Faury would continue to tackle industrial problems affecting some jet deliveries.
He would also need to restore morale shattered by a probe into the use of middlemen, now in its third year and which has left management sidelined as board directors pilot the inquiry.
If confirmed, his hiring could eventually herald changes in the board, where French chairman Denis Ranque retires in 2020. Airbus usually divides chairman and CEO jobs between French and German nationals, though the ability of Paris and Berlin governments to steer that balance openly was halted in 2013.