Cessna's Changing Of The Guard

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Cessna's transition to a world without 25-year veteran Russ Meyer continued last week with Jack Pelton being named president and chief executive officer of the airframe manufacturer. Pelton, himself a veteran of both McDonnell-Douglas and then Boeing, replaces Charlie Johnson, who announced his retirement last month after months on medical leave from the Wichita-based company, as president. Meyer will stay on as chairman to focus on "big-picture" issues with Pelton now in charge of daily operations. "We're extremely fortunate to have proven leaders like Jack on board to build on Cessna's rich foundation of success and market leadership. He is a highly talented executive and a natural choice to lead Cessna into the future," said Textron Chairman, President and CEO Lewis B. Campbell in a press release. "As the industry begins to rebound from the downturn in the economy, a long-range competitive product plan will be key to moving Cessna to an even higher level of market leadership. Jack has the experience and knowledge to make that happen." In addition to his service at McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing, Pelton was senior vice president of engineering and programs at Fairchild Dornier in Germany and was responsible for the company's 728JET aircraft family. "As the business jet market regains momentum, Cessna will be well positioned to maintain its market leadership, with a product line and service capability that are second to none," said Textron Chief Operating Officer Steven Loranger. Pelton is a Citation-rated, instrument-rated commercial pilot and flies regularly as pilot in command.