Bombardier has decided to replace Commercial Aircraft president Mike Arcamone with International Lease Finance Corporation president Fred Cromer as part of another management shakeup that will also see the retirement of the Canadian company’s CFO, Pierre Alary. The departures come as the long-delayed CSeries program encounters another possible commercial setback, specifically involving complications associated with a 32-aircraft order for CS300s from Russia’s Ilyushin Finance Company (IFC). While speaking with AIN on Thursday, IFC director general Alexander Roubtsov expressed ambivalence about the prospects for the project, and confirmed that IFC is considering scrapping its order for the CSeries.
“We need to seek mutually agreeable solutions, mostly on sources of funding, that would provide [for] viability of the respective project,” he said, in reference to questions about the willingness or ability for Canadian financial institutions to fund export sales into Russia. “Right now we are trying to determine the red line we should never cross...If the CS300 procurement appears to be on the other side of that line, we will have to give it up.”
Roubtsov says that IFC will decide on the red line for the CS300 before this year’s Paris Air Show, scheduled for June. “We need to be [ready to] face the reality,” Roubtsov concluded.
Bombardier president and CEO Alain Bellemare said the executive changes reflect the need for new talent to reinforce the management team and “instill a fresh perspective at Bombardier, driving execution, alignment and intensity across the entire company.”
Bombardier said Cromer will join the management team “in the coming weeks,” as Arcamone leaves “to pursue other interests.”
“Fred is an amazing addition to our team,” said Alain Bellemare, president and CEO of Bombardier. “Throughout his impressive career, he has led businesses with enterprise values of $500 million to over $30 billion and developed an unparalleled network of contacts in the airline industry. Most recently, as president of International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), Fred expanded international operations to support key growth regions. His strong leadership skills, international network and deep understanding of the aviation industry are a perfect match for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, as we are preparing to realize the true market potential of our new CSeries aircraft, while refocusing on our Q400 and CRJ programs.”
Cromer spent six years at ILFC as president and previously as senior vice president of finance and CFO. Earlier in his 23-year aviation industry career, he held various executive positions in the airline industry, such as CFO of ExpressJet, vice president and CFO of Continental Express, vice president of fleet planning for Continental Airlines and director of fleet planning for Northwest Airlines. He holds a bachelor degree in economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA in finance from DePaul University in Chicago.
Separately, Bombardier has hired former ILFC chief executive Henri Courpron and his Plan View Partners consultancy as strategic advisors. He and his team plan to conduct a review of all of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft’s operations, with the objective of improving its overall performance.