With Deal Done, Textron Aviation Absorbs Cessna and Beech

 - April 1, 2014, 4:10 AM

Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on March 14, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO since 2011, was tapped to lead Textron Aviation as CEO. Meanwhile, Bill Boisture, chairman and CEO of Beechcraft since 2009, was omitted from the Textron Aviation senior leadership team and “is moving on to new opportunities,” a Textron spokesman told AIN.

While the two aircraft manufacturers are now combined within a single segment, “Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker will each remain distinct brands to preserve their rich histories and respective strengths in the marketplace,” the company said. The Textron spokesman confirmed that “Bell Helicopter is not part of Textron Aviation, and that is not envisioned for the future.”

Newly formed Textron Aviation brings together several businesses with complementary general aviation products, including Citation and Hawker business jets, King Air and Caravan turboprops, five piston singles and the Baron G58 piston twin. The merged company also forms the industry’s largest global service network of company-owned, -authorized and mobile-service organizations. On the defense side, Textron Aviation has the Beechcraft T-6 trainer and AT-6 light attack aircraft, but not the Textron AirLand Scorpion light attack and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance jet.

“We expect the integration of Beechcraft and Cessna to be a seamless process that continues putting our customers first,” said Ernest. “Textron Aviation not only encompasses a world-class global customer service network and a strong portfolio of business and general aviation aircraft, but also a workforce with unparalleled industry expertise.”

Ernest sent an internal memo to employees three days after the acquisition was completed to outline the composition of the senior leadership team, which the Textron spokesman said “is a blend of senior managers from both Cessna and Beechcraft.” However, only three of the 14 vice presidents or senior vice presidents on the team are from Beechcraft.

According to the March 17 memo, senior vice presidents include Russ Bartlett, defense; Ron Draper, integrated supply chain; Cindy Halsey, interior design engineering; Chris Hearne, jets; Joe Hepburn, piston aircraft; Bill Schultz, China business development; Kriya Shortt, sales and marketing; Christi Tannahill, turboprop aircraft; Michael Thacker, engineering; Brad Thress, customer service; and Jim Waters, human resources and communications. Rounding out the team are Eric Salander, senior vice president and CFO; Blake Meyan, general counsel vice president; and Dave Rosenberg, vice president of integration and strategy.

“In the coming days, information about the structure of each team will be communicated by these leaders,” Ernest told employees. Further details about these team structures were pending at press time.