The board of directors at General Dynamics, parent company of Gulfstream Aerospace and Jet Aviation, announced yesterday that chairman and CEO Jay Johnson will retire effective December 31. Johnson, the former Navy fighter pilot who’s been heading General Dynamics since 2003, is to be succeeded by Phebe Novakovic. Last month, Novakovic was named president and COO of General Dynamics. Previously she served as executive vice president of the company’s marine systems group and senior vice president for planning and development.
The formerly dominant North American market for large business jets is showing signs of regaining market share, according to U.S. manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace (Stand 7061).
Here at the EBACE show on Sunday, Gulfstream said 60 percent of its first-quarter sales came from the U.S. compared to 40 percent for international sales. Last year at this time, 70 percent of Gulfstream sales were outside the U.S.
First-quarter revenues at General Dynamics’s aerospace division, which includes Gulfstream Aerospace and Jet Aviation, climbed by 20 percent from a year ago, to $1.62 billion, while segment profits ascended 17.8 percent to $271 million.
Gulfstream parent company General Dynamics promoted the head of its marine unit, Phebe Novakovi, to the newly created positions of president and COO, effective May 2. While it has a chairman and CEO–Jay Johnson–General Dynamics thus far has had only four executive vice presidents, including aerospace head Joe Lombardo, for each of its main businesses, but not a company-wide president or COO.
Gulfstream Aerospace yesterday announced plans to establish a business jet service center in China. Gulfstream Beijing will be a joint venture with Beijing Capital Airlines (Deer Jet) and Grand China Aviation Technik (GCAT) at Beijing Capital International Airport.
Hainan Airlines Group subsidiary Deer Jet is China’s largest business jet charter provider. Its fleet includes 26 Gulfstream aircraft. GCAT, another Hainan subsidiary, offers aircraft repair, maintenance, and overhaul services.
Gulfstream Aerospace will not disclose how many wide-cabin G650s it delivered last year until January 25, when parent company General Dynamics will hold its fourth-quarter investor conference call. Following FAA provisional certification of the G650 in mid-November, the Savannah, Ga.-based aircraft manufacturer reconfirmed plans to deliver 10 to 12 G650s by the end of 2011. Investors are keen to find out if that target was met, especially in light of Gulfstream’s increasing importance to General Dynamics’s future growth.
It is with some justification that Theodore “Teddy” Forstmann, the founder of Forstmann Little & Company, is described in aviation circles as “the man who saved Gulfstream.”
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.
CitationAir founder, president and CEO Steven O’Neill has stepped down from his position but will remain with the company in an advisory capacity. He is succeeded by CitationAir executive v-p and COO Bill Schultz.
General Dynamics yesterday appointed Leda M. L. Chong as Asia-Pacific region senior vice president of the company’s aerospace group.