...Mexican Connection?...

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Bass, once a senior vice president at Sony Corp., is more recently the former head of Suntron, an electronics company. Bass moved Suntron's manufacturing operations to Mexico where the company is now expanding, according to TCPalm.com. A New Piper news release, which saw limited distribution, said Bass has been hired to "lead New Piper Aircraft into the future." Piper officials have not yet offered tremendous insight into the head-office shuffle and Suma has also reportedly declined comment. Suma will stay on as vice chairman of New Piper and will look after contact with regulatory agencies, dealers and customer organizations, according to the release issued by the company.

According to TCPalm.com, Bass quit Suntron last May. The company had been losing money for four years and its sales had dropped by 50 percent, prompting closure of five plants. With Bass at the helm, Suntron moved its manufacturing operations to Tijuana and, in January, announced expansion of the plant there from 45,000 square feet to 110,000 square feet. In contrast, Piper seemed to be recovering from a terrible year in 2004 in which its plants were hit by three hurricanes. Sales were up, coinciding with the company's decision to offer glass panels in the full range of aircraft models.