Former Raytheon & Hawker VP Simon Caldecott Replaces
Just days after touting its business jet project at NBAA 2011 in
Las Vegas, Piper Aircraft has announced another turnover in top
management, and a new interim CEO whose first statement is to
question whether the Altaire development program is properly
aligned with market forecasts and company goals.
Leaving the building are Interim CEO Geoff Berger and Executive
VP Randy Groom. Piper says Simon Caldecott has been appointed the
new Interim President and CEO of Piper Aircraft, Inc., effective
immediately. Caldecott joined Piper in 2009 and is the former Vice
President of Operations responsible for Manufacturing Operations,
Manufacturing Engineering, Quality and Supply Chain.
Caldecott commented, "I would like to thank Geoff Berger for his
outstanding service to Piper throughout his time here. His hard
work and contributions have seen us through many important changes
that have helped continue a great tradition of precision
manufacturing and delivering best-in-class airplanes."
The statement acknowledges that Piper's existing products are
doing well. But Caldecott cast new uncertainty on the jet program,
saying, "While the company continues to achieve internal financial
and delivery targets for the existing turboprop and piston product
lines, we have initiated a review of the Altaire business jet
development program. This is being undertaken to ensure the company
is properly aligning business goals and light jet market forecasts
with investment strategies and economic forecasts."
The last two years have been tumultuous for those in top
management at Piper Aircraft. The original PiperJet, which was to
have been based on the M-class piston and turboprop models and was
being promoted at industry shows, was scrapped in May of 2009 in
favor of a larger design after Imprimis, managing capital for the
Ministry of Finance of Brunei, bought Piper and committed
additional funding. CEO Jim Bass was shown the door the following
month, replaced by then-VP of operations Kevin Gould, who lasted
only 14 months in the position. Berger, also a managing director
for Imprimis, was announced as Gould's interim replacement in July
of last year, serving just 15 months.
Caldecott is a 37-year industry veteran and former VP with
Raytheon and Hawker Beechcraft. Piper describes him as "a Green
Belt in the Six Sigma process improvement program."
Piper says it will announce the conclusion of the Altaire
program review to employees and the industry as soon as