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Leadership Moves, Nov/Dec 2021
  • 04 Nov 2021 06:50 PM
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Leadership Moves, Nov/Dec 2021

Lu, Perkins and Missan Join Archer

In August, Archer Aviation appointed three executives for finance, human resources and legal affairs.

Lu, Perkins, Missan

Ben Lu joined Archer as Chief Financial Officer in what was the company’s first C-suite level financial hire. As the CFO at Archer, Lu will manage the company’s finances, and grow and oversee the investor relations department. Prior to joining Archer, Lu served as VP of Finance at Logitech, a period during which Logitech achieved a tenfold growth in shareholder value. “My entire career has been focused on helping tech companies scale by creating strategic approaches to finance and investor relations,” said Lu in a statement. “I am excited and ready to step into this role for Archer.”

Tosha Perkins joined Archer as the Chief People Officer, where she will manage hiring efforts and develop company culture. Perkins will be responsible for crafting talent acquisition strategies as the California-based eVTOL developer prepares for a planned commercial debut in 2024. Prior to joining Archer, Perkins served as the Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior VP at McDermott International. Perkins has also held leadership roles at several large consulting firms, including Slalom and Accenture. “I'm honored to be trusted with expanding the tremendous talent at Archer and to support the company's work towards a more sustainable future,” Perkins said in a statement.

Archer appointed Andy Missan as Chief Legal Officer, where he will offer strategic legal guidance and direction. Missan will be responsible for all aspects of Archer’s legal affairs and help the company navigate the complexities of the emerging UAM regulatory environment. Missan previously served as the Executive VP and general counsel at Fitbit, and as general counsel at a variety of technology companies, including Bytemobile, MobiTV and Danger. “It’s an exhilarating opportunity to join Archer and continue to develop the legal function for a team that is creating such a transformational product and defining a new industry,” Missan said in a statement.


Quackenbush and Whitehouse to Lead CDI

In early October, Dr. Todd Quackenbush and Dr. Glen Whitehouse were appointed to lead Continuum Dynamics, Inc. as co-CEOs of the company. An expert in rotorcraft and AAM applications, Quackenbush draws on 35 years of experience at CDI, where he has directed a wide range of research activities into issues such as helicopter rotors, rotorcraft performance, and propulsion and weapons systems. Whitehouse joined CDI in 2003 and leads the company’s computational physics group. Most recently, Whitehouse served as principal investigator on the CDI project, “Next Generation Distributed Electric Propulsion Urban Air Mobility Aircraft Analysis/Design Tools,” which the company conducted in collaboration with the Georgia Institute for Technology for NASA. Quackenbush and Whitehouse replace current President Dr. Alan Bilanin, who will go on to lead the company’s nuclear thermal/hydraulics group and serve as chairman of the board of the directors for CDI.


Newman Joins Elroy as CFO

Elroy Air announced on Oct. 21 that it had selected Grant Newman to serve as CFO. Newman has extensive executive experience serving in a variety of business and finance roles in the aerospace and rotorcraft industry. As Senior VP for Strategy and Corporate Development at Era Group, Newman led the acquisition of Bristow Group, a merger that created one of the largest helicopter operators in the world. He has also held positions at Deutsche Bank, where he led commercial aerospace and helicopter coverage, and at General Electric Company. “The convergence of our technology maturation and our leadership position in VTOL aerial logistics along with the capital markets’ embrace of advanced air mobility presents an opportune time for Grant to join the Elroy Air team,” David Merrill, CEO of Elroy Air, said in a statement.


Vertical Appoints Holt, Paines to Key Roles

Vertical Aerospace announced on Oct. 5 that Harry Holt would join the company as Chief Operating Officer, where he will focus on implementing Vertical’s operational and manufacturing strategy, among other responsibilities. An experienced operations manager, Holt previously served as Chief People Officer at Rolls-Royce, a strategic partner for Vertical in the VA-X4 eVTOL program. He also led Rolls-Royce’s Nuclear Business unit and served as Group Operations Strategy Director. “Harry brings extensive expertise of managing organizations operating at scale and speed and is an outstanding addition to our team as we enter the next phase of growth,” Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of Vertical Aerospace, said in a statement.


Meanwhile, former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) test pilot Justin Paines (shown at top) joined the Bristol, UK-based Vertical as the chief test pilot, the company announced on Oct. 4. Paines joins the company as it is preparing to conduct the first test flight of the VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft, which is expected to be piloted by Paines in 2022. He previously served as the chief test pilot at Joby Aviation, where he led the evaluation of the Joby S4 eVTOL aircraft. Paines draws on a distinguished career in the RAF, previously serving as a test pilot for the British fly-by-wire Vectored-thrust Aircraft Advanced Control (VAAC) Harrier test bed and the Lockheed Martin X-35 Joint Strike Fighter technology demonstrator.

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