With Edwards out, Beaudoins intensify hold on Bombardier

 - October 19, 2006, 10:33 AM

The Beaudoin family deepened its leadership of Montreal-based Bombardier last month following the departure of Peter Edwards as president of Bombardier Business Aircraft. The change at the top also follows several recent and major changes at the division’s operating levels while Edwards was in charge.

Bombardier disclosed on September 7 that “effective immediately” Pierre Beaudoin, son of Bombardier chairman and CEO Laurent Beaudoin, would replace Edwards. A Bombardier spokesman told AIN that Edwards, 49, “stepped down and left the company to pursue other interests.” The company declined to elaborate on what precipitated the sudden change at the top, and a call to Edwards was not returned.

On Feb. 1, 2001, Pierre Beaudoin similarly replaced Robert Gillespie as head of the business aircraft division before he was succeeded by Edwards in November 2001.

Edwards’ nearly four-year reign as president of Bombardier Business Aircraft saw a steady increase in business jet deliveries and orders, especially since 2003. While that might be good news for the company’s bottom line, during the same period product support apparently suffered–decreasing from the highest rating in AIN’s 2000 and 2003 Product Support Surveys to the lowest rating in the 2004 and 2005 surveys. Also while Edwards was president, the business aircraft unit closed two major service centers and consolidated completions in Montreal.

In addition to his role as president and COO of Bombardier Aerospace, the younger Beaudoin will lead the business aircraft unit until the company appoints a new president. “Pierre is very familiar with the business, and business aircraft has an excellent team on all levels,” the spokesman said. “We are going to take the time required to get the best candidate possible for that job. We don’t have any particular timeline and we will be evaluating internal as well as external candidates.”