Textron Inc. (announced that Scott A. Ernest has been named president and chief executive officer of Cessna Aircraft Company, Textron's general aviation business. Ernest replaces Jack Pelton, whose retirement was announced May 2.
Ernest will head the premier U.S. producer of light and mid-size Citation business jets, based in Wichita, KS. Cessna was long a star in the Textron aviation portfolio, but the company has struggled to regain sales and profits in the wake of the 2008-2009 economic debacle and is facing increased competition at home and abroad. Bell Helicopter of Fort Worth, in part due to its heavy military business, has fared better than Cessna the last couple of years.
Ernest will report to Textron CEO Scott Donnelly. He is a 29-year veteran of General Electric Company, where he most recently served as vice president and general manager, global supply chain for GE Aviation, a $16 billion leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft.
Previously, Ernest was vice president and general manager, global services operations for GE Aviation's $6 billion services business. His career at GE Aviation also includes several general manager roles ranging from overseeing its sourcing organization to responsibility for its North American operations and large aviation services businesses located in Singapore and Strother, Kansas.
Donnelly came to Textron from GE Aviation.
"Scott is a talented global business leader who has strong expertise in the aviation industry," Donnelly said in a statement issued by Textron. "Accelerating Cessna's new product and service development, strengthening its manufacturing and sourcing operations, and intensifying its global expansion efforts are key to moving Cessna forward. Scott brings an extensive track record of success in these areas along with a reputation as an outstanding leader. I am confident that he is the ideal person to position Cessna for growth as the business jet market gains momentum."
Ernest earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron and a master of science degree in engineering from the University of Cincinnati.