Veteran business aviation executive Brian Barents is taking the new role as executive chairman of Aerion, as the Reno, Nevada-based firm moves to take the next step in bringing its AS2 supersonic business jet to market. Previously co-chairman, Barents will oversee the strategy to bring the Mach 1.6 jet to market. He will work closely with Doug Nichols, who will continue leading the day-to-day operations of Aerion.
Aerion and GE Aviation in May announced a collaboration to define the final engine configuration for the AS2, and Aerion further is holding multiple discussions for an “industrialization plan” for the airplane.
“This step strengthens the capability of the Aerion organization by elevating a singularly prominent industry veteran to further relationships with key decision makers at OEMs, tier-one suppliers and other critical constituencies,” said Aerion chairman Robert Bass of the new appointment. “Brian brings to this new role a uniquely successful career in aviation turn-arounds, startups and new product launches.”
In the 1970s and ’80s, Barents served as senior v-p of sales and marketing for Cessna and general manager of the Citation division, which at the time had grown into the largest seller of corporate jets. He then became president of Learjet, overseeing the company through the sale to Bombardier in 1991 and the launch of the Model 45 and 60 business jets. He also served as managing partner and CEO of Galaxy Aerospace and helped steer the sale of that company to Gulfstream.
In addition to his work with Aerion, Barents serves or has served on the boards of a number of aerospace companies, including Kaman, CAE and The Nordam Group.