Gulfstream Resuscitator Teddy Forstmann Flies West

 - November 22, 2011, 3:36 PM
Teddy Forstmann, 71, is credited with turning around Gulfstream Aerospace in the 1990s. (Photo: Kirby J. Harrison)

Teddy Forstmann, the man who was credited with turning around Gulfstream Aerospace in the 1990s, died Sunday, reportedly from brain cancer. His investment firm, Forstmann Little, acquired Gulfstream in 1990 for $800 million.

When the Savannah, Ga.-based aircraft manufacturer began experiencing financial difficulties, Forstmann took a hands-on approach and appointed himself chairman and CEO. During his seven-year tenure, he revamped the management team, created new product lines, introduced aircraft fractional ownership and launched the then-flagship GV. (Gulfstream’s new flagship model, the G650, received provisional type certification on Friday.) After turning around the company, he sold Gulfstream to General Dynamics for $5.6 billion in 1999.

“Gulfstream is deeply saddened by the loss of Ted Forstmann, who played such a prominent role in our company’s history,” the company said in a statement. “During Forstmann’s ownership of Gulfstream, we signed a five-year contract with NetJets, completed the Gulfstream V integration test facility and rolled out the GV. Forstmann also oversaw the opening of the original Savannah service center and our transition from a single-line manufacturing facility to a dual line, where we could manufacture two different aircraft models simultaneously. The legacy Forstmann left behind here at Gulfstream continues to live on. We owe a debt of gratitude to his innovation, his foresight and his commitment to success. He will be missed.”