In March, J. Scott Drennan (shown) updated his LinkedIn profile to note that he was now the chief research and development officer at Hyundai Motor Group’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) division, after 26 years at Bell. Most of Drennan’s career was as a structural analyst, but included three years in management roles on the joint Bell-Leonardo AW609 program (2011–2014), followed by leadership roles in air vehicle integration and innovation.
For the past four years, Drennan was the head of Bell’s Engineering Innovation group, where he was responsible for the company’s cutting-edge developments, including the Bell Nexus and Advanced Pod Transport (APT) electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) projects. Drennan was a frequent speaker and strong supporter of VFS eVTOL activities. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, both Bell and Hyundai unveiled full-scale models of their eVTOL designs, the Bell Nexus 4EX and the Hyundai S-A1 (see “Urban Air Mobility Steals the Show at CES 2020,” Vertiflite, March/April 2020).
In October, the Hyundai UAM group announced former NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Dr. Jaiwon Shin as its head, and pledged to invest $1.5 billion towards UAM development in the next few years. Since then, Hyundai UAM has hired several high-profile leaders. Pamela Cohn was appointed as the vice president and head of global operations and strategy at Hyundai UAM, which also brought along her entire company of Ascension Global. In February, Diana Marina Cooper, former senior vice president of policy and strategy at PrecisionHawk, was appointed head of US policy at Hyundai UAM and former US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker joined the division as the head of global policy in April.