Hawker Beechcraft Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Schuster, today announced that he has notified the HBC board of his plan to retire from the company.
“Earlier this month, I began discussing my retirement plans with our Board. After nearly eight years as CEO, I feel the time is right,” Schuster said. “HBC is the world’s largest privately held aircraft manufacturer and with the support of world-class partners Goldman Sachs and Onex, Hawker Beechcraft is poised to become the leader in general aviation."
Schuster points to the following HBC achievements as clear evidence that the company is positioned for long-term growth and industry leadership:
· Built the industry’s most talented leadership team at all levels of the company
· Reinvigorated the Hawker and Beechcraft brands
· Generated a record order backlog in each of the last six consecutive quarters
· Expanded global operations to achieve an unprecedented 58% international backlog
· Certified 19 new aircraft in the last eight years, with three new products announced in 2008
· Substantially grew government business and special mission aircraft sales
· Successfully launched the world’s first composite fuselage business jets
Schuster will lead HBC until the company identifies a successor and will remain a shareholder after he leaves the company.
“I will continue to lead the company during its search for a new CEO – until then, I am fully committed to achieving our fourth quarter financial objectives, finalizing our 2009 business plan and delivering on our 2009 commitments,” Schuster said. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but I believe that we have the most talented team in the industry to accomplish our goals and grow our business.”
Schuster’s nearly eight year tenure as CEO is among the longest in the aviation industry.
“We thank Jim for his dedicated service and contribution. He is a true leader that has positioned Hawker Beechcraft atop general aviation,” said Sanjeev Mehra, chairman of the board of Hawker Beechcraft, Inc. “Under his leadership, Hawker Beechcraft not only became the world’s largest independent aircraft manufacturer, but also solidified its future in general aviation with an exciting product line and world class services.”