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Leadership Moves, Nov/Dec 2023
  • 07 Nov 2023 10:05 PM
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Leadership Moves, Nov/Dec 2023

Shortt to Lead Textron eAviation


Textron, Inc. announced on Aug. 21 that Kriya Shortt will serve as President and CEO of Textron eAviation, which includes the company’s Nexus electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft as well as light piston- and electric-powered subsidiary, Pipistrel Aircraft. Shortt brings to the role 27 years of experience with Textron companies. She most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Global Parts and Distribution at Textron Aviation, prior to which she held a variety of senior leadership roles at that Textron subsidiary and Cessna Aircraft Company (part of Textron Aviation since 2014).

Shortt succeeds Rob Scholl in the role, who has been named President and CEO of Textron Specialized Vehicles, Inc. (which includes brands E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Jacobsen, Cushman, and Textron Ground Support Equipment). Scholl led Textron eAviation since Textron formed the segment in 2022. “Rob and Kriya have served as outstanding leaders at our respective businesses and I am confident they will continue to drive success in their new roles,” said Textron CEO Scott C. Donnelly.

Gysin Joins Airspeeder Board


Gary Gysin joined Airspeeder as a board member, the developer of racing eVTOL aircraft announced on Aug. 23. Gysin previously served as CEO of Wisk Aero, the California-based developer of eVTOL aircraft, before retiring from that role in February. “Joining the board aligns perfectly with my passion for aviation and Formula 1,” said Gysin in a statement, adding that the racing concept has the potential to spur innovation in other domains.

Kaman Transitions CFO Role

On Aug. 25, Kaman Corp. announced that Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer James Coogan would step down from the role on Aug. 28. Coogan, who remains with the company until October to ensure a smooth transition, departed Kaman for another opportunity in the aerospace and defense industry, the company said in a statement. Carroll Lane, a senior vice president at Kaman, succeeded Coogan as interim CFO while the company engaged in a search for a permanent successor. “With nearly two decades of operational, financial, investor relations and leadership experience, Carroll is well suited to support the continued execution of our financial priorities,” said Kaman President and CEO Ian Walsh in a statement.


Jia Xu Joins SkyGrid as CEO

Jia Xu will serve as Chief Executive Officer of SkyGrid, the Boeing-backed aerospace company announced on Aug. 28. Xu previously served as the Chief Technology Officer for uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) and urban air mobility (UAM) at Honeywell Aerospace, prior to which he held roles at Airbus, General Atomics and the RAND Corporation. “The future of aviation is autonomous, and SkyGrid will play a vital role in safely integrating unmanned flights into the airspace and enabling routine autonomous operations at scale,” said Xu in a statement. He succeeds Amir Husain as CEO, who will stay on at the company as a board member.

Boulter to Lead FAA Safety


In August, David Boulter assumed the role of Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS) at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He had served in the role in an acting capacity since June 2022, during which time he oversaw the division’s 7,600 personnel and managed an annual budget of more than $1.8B. Boulter began his career at the FAA in the Flight Standards division. He previously served as Executive Director of the AVS Flight Standards Service, as well as the Assistant Manager and Director of Operations for the Flight Standards Flight Program.

Changes Atop Airbus

In September, Bart Reijnen was appointed the President of Airbus Helicopters, Inc. (AHI), as well as the lead for the North America region for Airbus Helicopters. Beginning in 2016, Reijnen served as CEO of Airbus services company Satair and, since 2021, also as the Head of Material Services in Airbus Customer Services. Prior to joining Satair, Reijnen served as CEO of Dutch Space, now Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands. He has also held leadership roles at Airbus Corporate Headquarters and Airbus Commercial.

Reijnen succeeds Romain Trapp at AHI. Trapp will serve as Executive Vice President Customer Support and Services for Airbus Helicopters, the parent company of AHI. Trapp brings to the role more than 20 years of experience at Airbus, having held senior roles in general management, finance and operations. He previously spent 15 years in North America for Airbus Helicopters, holding a variety of leadership roles.

Meanwhile, Volker Mang is the new Executive Vice President Human Resources for Airbus Helicopters. Mang previously served as the Head of Human Resources for Airbus Military Air Systems and Head of Human Resources for Airbus Defense and Space Spain, prior to which he held a variety of senior leadership roles in human resources. Mang joined Airbus in 2000, during which time he was an “integral member of the HR project team responsible for the creation of EADS,” according to an Airbus biography. In his new role, Mang is responsible for enhancing the company’s human resources strategy.

Manta Aircraft Forms Board


In September, Manta Aircraft announced its new board of directors. In a statement, the Italy-based developer of hybrid-electric eVTOL aircraft said that former executives from Leonardo/Finmeccanica/AgustaWestland have joined the recently formed board, including Giuseppe Orsi, Fabio Nannoni and Sergio Biganzoli, as well as Eugenio Cremascoli, the CEO of Avionord. Orsi was CEO of AgustaWestland (2004– 2011) and later became the CEO of Finmeccanica (now Leonardo). Nannoni retired last year as Leonardo Helicopters’ Senior Vice President for Safety System Governance and was previously the Senior Vice President for Engineering; a VFS Honorary Fellow, Nannoni was also the 2021 VFS Nikolsky Lecturer. Biganzoli served as CFO of AgustaWestland for nearly 8 years, and is now the CFO for Manta. “Our continuous growth and progress demanded this targeted realignment to be optimally positioned for impending milestones,” said Manta CEO and co-founder Lucas Marchesini in a statement, adding that the board members will bring “valuable expertise” to the company. The board became effective as of July 2023. In addition to Marchesini and the three new members, the new board also includes co-founders Juanjo Espinosa, Chief Design Officer, and Michael Mesaric, Chief Operating Officer.

Nault Leads Bell Textron Canada


Michael Nault is the new Vice President and General Manager of Bell Textron Canada, a position he assumed in September. Nault brings to the position a wealth of experience at Bell, having joined the company in 2006 as an airframe structures engineer. Prior to assuming his current role, Nault led Bell’s Mirabel Completion Center and served as the Chief Engineer for light helicopters. For his efforts in helping launch the Bell 407GXP in 2015, Nault was awarded the Larry D. Bell Pioneer Award and the Textron Chairman’s Award for Innovation. He has also worked short stints at Textron subsidiaries Kautex, Lycoming and TRU Simulation + Training.

Meanwhile, Steeve Lavoie, who had served as head of Bell Textron Canada since 2019, has become the president of Mailhot Industries, a leading manufacturer of hydraulic cylinders.

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