Dr. Thomas "Tom" Enders (born December 1958) is a German business executive. He currently serves as the chief executive of Airbus Group (formerly EADS), having succeeded Louis Gallois to the role in May 2012.
Enders started out his career with early work experience as an assistant at the German Federal Parliament, and at a series of German and UK-based think tanks. Enders also serves as a Major in the German Army Reserve, and spent two years in the planning staff of the German defence ministry.
He joined the marketing department of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace in 1991 and held several functions at DASA until he was promoted to head the defence and security systems business in the frame of the merger of EADS in 2000. In 2005, he was appointed co-CEO (first with co-CEO Noël Forgeard, then Louis Gallois), a role he relinquished in 2007 when the company modified its corporate governance, giving away with double-CEO and double-Chairman structures. As a result of the governance change, Enders was appointed CEO of Airbus, the Group’s largest Division. In May 2012, the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders approved Enders' nomination to become CEO of EADS. Shortly after his nomination, Enders embarked on a plan to merge with UK-based BAE Systems, which would have created the world’s leading defence company. However, the merger plan – the only remaining realistic opportunity to fulfill the company’s Vision2020 strategy – failed ultimately due to political intervention. In late 2012, EADS and its shareholders – namely Daimler AG, Lagardère and the French state – agreed to revamp the company’s corporate governance, thereby considerably reducing political influence in the Group. Although Germany, France and Spain are shareholders of the group, none hold any special blocking rights, meaning the company is governed solely by the Board of Directors and the Executive Management. After the failure of the merger with BAE Systems, Enders initiated a review of the company’s strategy, which was completed in July 2013. Among others, the outcome resulted in the rebranding of the Group from EADS to Airbus Group in January 2014.
Enders served as Chairman of BDLI, the German aerospace industry association, from 2005 to 2012.
Under the premiership of David Cameron, he was appointed to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom's Business Advisory Group in his capacity as chief executive of Airbus and later as chief executive of EADS. Since 2015, he has been serving as a member of the European Commission’s High-level Group of Personalities on Defence Research chaired by Elżbieta Bieńkowska.
He was Chairman of the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI) and serves on the management board of HSBC Trinkaus. He also served as the chairman of Carl Zeiss Optronics prior to Cassidian acquiring the optronics division from Carl Zeiss in 2012. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group.
Education and personal details
Enders studied economics, politics, and history at the University of Bonn and the University of California, completing his doctorate in political science at the age of 28.
Enders has a helicopter pilot’s license and is a fan of skydiving.
In November 2010, he performed a paradrop from the Airbus A400M Atlas.
Enders is a son of a shepherd.