European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has announced a management shake-up.

Fabrice Bregier, the firm’s chief operating officer will step down in February, while chief executive Tom Enders will not seek a new mandate when his term expires in 2019.

Guillaume Faury, currently chief executive of Airbus Helicopters, will succeed Bregier as president of the main commercial aircraft division.

Reuters reported the company said the board had acted to secure an orderly succession.

During 2018, the board will assess internal and external candidates for the chief executive hoping to announce Enders’ successor so it can be confirmed at the 2019 shareholder meeting.

Bregier has long been seen as the natural heir to Enders but has told the board he does not intend to be part of the selection process for the chief executive position.

He will step down in February 2018 to “pursue other interests”.