On the eve of the National Business Aviation Association convention (NBAA-BACE) in Orlando, Textron has shifted the sometimes-controversial president of its aviation division, Scott Ernest, to the arm of the company that makes golf carts, snowmobiles and lawn mowers. Replacing him is the former head of operations for the aviation division Ron Draper. Under Ernest, Textron Aviation developed several new business jet designs that will be the centerpiece of the Textron display at Orlando Executive Airport, including the Longitude and Latitude. He also presided over the cancellation of several programs, including the diesel Cessna 182, the 162 LSA, the high-performance single TTX and the Citation Mustang.
Draper has worked mainly in the background ensuring the wide variety of production lines ran smoothly. He’s a West Point graduate who served as an Army helicopter pilot. Ernest is not a pilot and came to Textron from GE’s aviation division. Ernest succeeded former CEO Jack Pelton, who is now chairman of EAA. Textron CEO Scott Donnelly said Ernest took the aviation division “to the next level” and he expects him to do the same at the golf cart and delivery vehicle division. “Scott Ernest begins his leadership of Textron Specialized Vehicles at a time when his experience will be especially valuable,” added Donnelly. “The business continues to expand its product line and build out its dealer network, which is vital for our plans to grow sales in the US and internationally.”