James Bass, who has been CEO of Piper Aircraft since 2005, will step down on June 26, the company announced on Wednesday. “All things come to an end,” Bass said in remarks to Piper employees. “I have successfully completed my mission at Piper and am leaving the company in very capable hands. What I was brought in to do has been done, and it is now time for me to move on to other challenges.” During his four years at the helm, Bass led the development of the PiperJet and initiated a new business alliance with Honda. He also oversaw the introduction of the Meridian G1000 and the popular Piper Matrix, and negotiated $32 million in incentives from the state and county that kept the company in Vero Beach, Fla. “My primary focus when I came to Piper in 2005 was to turn the company around, create a strong, highly competitive business, and make Piper a compelling choice for potential buyers,” Bass said. “Now with the sale of Piper to Imprimis, we have achieved that major milestone.” Imprimis, a corporate finance and investment management firm, bought Piper on May 1.
The next CEO will be Kevin Gould, who is now Piper’s VP of operations. Gould joined Piper in 2005, and has more than 20 years of experience in leadership roles in engineering, manufacturing and management, including 12 years at Boeing. He overhauled Piper’s manufacturing operations to meet production schedule commitments, while improving both cost and quality performance, the company said. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law and a B.A. from Washington State University. He holds a private pilot certificate. John Becker, who is now VP of engineering, will be named president of the company.