Leadership Moves, March-April 2022
Henning Heads AutoFlight Europe
AutoFlight, the China-based electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer, announced on Jan. 18 that Mark R. Henning will lead the company’s operations in Europe. Henning will serve as Managing Director at AutoFlight Europe and will lead a team based at Ausburg Airport in Germany. Henning previously served as the government business manager for helicopters at Airbus, as well as the head of product for the EC135. Trained at Munich Technical University as an aeronautical engineer, Henning has also held leadership positions at Airbus predecessors EADS and Eurocopter. At AutoFlight, Henning leads a team tasked with achieving the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)’s certification of the Prosperity I — previously designated the V1500M eVTOL — which AutoFlight hopes to secure by 2025. “We are bringing aircraft construction back to Augsburg, creating a high-tech location and jobs as we build drones and create a completely new market segment for air taxis,” said Henning in a statement.
Archer Adds to Leadership
Archer Aviation, the California-based eVTOL developer, continues to add to its leadership team. On Jan. 21, Archer announced that Mark Mesler will serve as the CFO, leading all aspects of the company’s financial operations. Prior to joining Archer, Mesler served as CFO at Volansi, a California-based drone logistics company. He also spent 11 years with Bloom Energy, where he guided the company’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, and he has held positions at Aquest Systems and KLA-Tencor.
On Jan. 27, Archer announced that it had appointed Steve Dyer, Paul Martin and Mark Moore to its technical advisory board. Dyer is an aerospace and aviation consultant with four decades in the aviation industry, including a career at Bell, where he served as vice president of air vehicle design. Martin is the President and CEO of Woodbury Management Group and has had a distinguished career in aerospace engineering. Moore is the CEO of Whisper Aero and previously served as the engineering director of aviation at Uber.
Meanwhile, on Feb. 2, Archer announced that it has appointed Barbara Pilarski to its board of directors. Pilarski is the global head of business development at Stellantis NV, the multinational automotive company that owns Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, Mopar and other brands. She has 35 years of experience in the automotive sector.
Dómhnal Slattery to Chair Vertical
On Jan. 27, Vertical Aerospace appointed Dómhnal Slattery as non-executive chairman of Vertical’s board of directors. Slattery is expected to lead Vertical, an eVTOL developer based in Bristol, UK, as it moves toward the certification and commercialization of its VX4 eVTOL aircraft. Slattery brings to the position 30 years of experience in the global aviation finance industry. He previously served as senior advisor to Vertical founder and CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick, who had been filling the chairman role since the company went public in December 2021.
Slattery is the founding CEO of aircraft leasing company Avolon, a position which he will continue to hold. “Dómhnal’s vision for zero emissions flight will be invaluable for the Vertical Board and its shareholders, and his appointment validates our ambition to lead the eVTOL sector globally,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
In addition, Vertical announced the appointment of former NHV CEO Steffen Bay as Head of Market Development, Latin America, and former Airbus regional head Derek Cheng as Head of Commercial, Asia-Pacific.
Lilium Appoints Strachan as Chief Pilot
Lilium has appointed Andrew Strachan as the new chief test pilot at the Germany-based eVTOL developer. In a Jan. 27 press release, Lilium said that Strachan brings to the position over 30 years of experience as an aircraft test pilot. He has previously served in the Royal Air Force and as the chief test pilot at Leonardo Helicopters. “As someone who has been influenced by aviation since childhood, it’s inspiring to be part of a company driving the next phase of sustainable, aeronautical technology,” said Strachan in a statement. Lilium made the announcement as one of the company’s eVTOL demonstrator aircraft — the PHX2 — arrived at the ATLAS Flight Test Center in Villacarrillo, Spain, where it will undergo long-range and high-speed evaluations.
MacGowan Joins Wisk
Catherine MacGowan has joined eVTOL developer Wisk as its director for the Asia Pacific region (replacing VFS Board Member Anna Kominik, who has left the company). In a press release on Jan. 31, Wisk, which is based in San Francisco and New Zealand, said that MacGowan will oversee the expansion of the company’s operations in Australasia, as well as manage key projects such as Wisk’s airspace integration trial. Prior to joining Wisk, MacGowan served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and has held senior leadership roles in both the New Zealand Defence Force and in the government. “Catherine’s strong leadership skills and her in-depth understanding of the aerospace environment will be of huge value to Wisk and our mission to make safe, everyday flight a reality,” said Wisk CEO Gary Gysin in a statement.
Judd Joins Skywork
On Jan. 31, Skyworks Aeronautics announced that Stephen Judd will serve as its director of global business development. Judd will be based in the UK offices of Skyworks, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based company dedicated to autogyro research and development (see “Skyworks Aeronautics: Something Old, Something New,” Vertiflite, Jan/Feb 2022). Judd brings a lengthy career in aerospace engineering to his position at Skyworks. He previously served as a management consultant and in multiple executive positions at Stirling Dynamics, including as its managing director, where he led the company’s expansion into the US and Japan. “I am very excited to be joining the exceptional Skyworks Aeronautics team,” said Judd in a statement. “Skyworks’ gyroplanes hold the potential to revolutionize flight in a diverse range of aircrafts markets, offering customers huge advantages and many benefits.”