European aerospace giant EADS is about to change its name to Airbus, its better-known plane-making subsidiary, as part of a major restructuring, a source said on Thursday.
According to a proposal to be made to the company's board, the group will merge all defence activities into one division in a significant overhaul that would need the approval of stakeholders, which include the governments of France and Germany.
In the shake-up, the current Cassidian division would merge with space division Astrium and Airbus Military, which makes military transport equipment, to become Airbus Defence.
In the move, EADS would also be renamed Airbus, with the civil plane-making operations taking the moniker Airbus Civil Aircraft and today's Eurocopter becoming Airbus Helicopters.
According to industry newsletter AeroDefenseNews, current Cassidian chief Bernhard Gerwert, a German, will become head of Airbus Defence.
"What is certain, is that this entity will not be handed to a Frenchman," a source close to the matter said. French executives are already division heads at EADS, where most top job nominations are carefully balanced between French and Germans.
EADS is due to publish half-year results on July 31, and the board meeting will take place just beforehand.
The Financial Times reported late Thursday that the restructuring would involve job losses and that unions will be consulted on the plan in the autumn.
EADS was created in 2000 in a merger of leading German, French and Spanish aerospace companies.
The name change has been on the cards for a long time, since it was believed that EADS, standing for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, suffered from weak brand recognition.
But a hugely-publicised failed attempt by EADS and Britain's BAE Systems to merge last year has boosted recognition of the EADS name, causing some executives to question any potential name change.