...On Good Terms

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For the association's part, Blouin's departure seems to be on good terms. "Bob has made enormous contributions to NBAA and the business aviation community in his seven years with the Association," said Don Baldwin, NBAA board of directors chairman and interim president and CEO. "We are sorry to see Bob leave, but we wish him all the best in his new endeavors." In another sense, however, Blouin's departure was expected. In fact, the announcement followed one from March 30, 2004, which occurred near the beginning of a sequence of events leading to then-President and CEO Shelley Longmuir's departure from the NBAA after only nine months on the job. Of course, Blouin subsequently decided to remain with the NBAA after Longmuir left. That episode, among other events, led to Bolen being named the association's incoming president earlier this month. In fact, Blouin jokingly referred to that resignation this week with AVweb when he noted that his decision had been some five months in the making.

Despite those events, Blouin's departure failed to raise any eyebrows around Washington's aviation alphabet soup. One observer with whom AVweb spoke said he was "not surprised" by the announcement. When you've been "passed over for promotion, you clear the field for the new guy to run with," the observer added, referring to Blouin's widely rumored candidacy for the association's top spot. Still, none of that should come as a surprise, since the NBAA traditionally has never promoted from within to the position of its president. In considering whether Blouin's departure was decided based on a supposed incompatibility with Bolen, another observer asked rhetorically, "How does one not get along with Ed [Bolen]?"

For his part, Blouin told AVweb that he's "very proud of his last seven years" at the NBAA and is simply looking forward to his scheduled vacation. He has a "couple of things" he'll be working on in the future. Meanwhile, what will occur next at the NBAA is anyone's guess. What's known right now is that Bolen will come aboard on Sept. 1 and head straight into the association's annual meeting, set for Oct. 12, 13, and 14 in Las Vegas. After that, it's what comes next is up in the air, although several in the aforementioned alphabet soup speculated on a limited merger between the NBAA and GAMA, perhaps involving their government and public affairs activities. Somewhere in there, the NBAA will need to find a replacement for Blouin, either from outside or from within. As Blouin's departure confirms, it's not likely to be the latter.