The enigmatic founder and long-time CEO of Eclipse Aviation, Vern Raburn, has stepped down and will be replaced by Roel Pieper, the chairman of the board of directors and president of ETIRC, a European company that poured more than $100 million into struggling Eclipse earlier this year. In a brief statement at a news conference at EAA AirVenture on Monday morning, Raburn said he believes Eclipse has fundamentally changed aviation but he acknowledged that the company's development did not occur as quickly or as smoothly as planned. He will remain an employee of the company as Vice Chairman of Internationalization of Eclipse.
Pieper said there will be new focus on efficiency and operational excellence as the company moves into its new phase. "I'm very confident we have adequate funding in place," Pieper said. In fact, Raburn's departure was a condition of Eclipse obtaining its most recent round of financing. "Under the terms of the commitment and agreements, Founder and CEO Vern Raburn will step down and veteran executive and Eclipse Aviation Chairman Roel Pieper will become acting CEO effective immediately," said Eclipse's news release.