New Cirrus CEO Takes Case To Media (Fox)


Cirrus’ new CEO Brent Wouters took the case of aviation, specifically Cirrus aviation, to the public in a Fox business news segment Thursday. Treated with kid gloves (one interviewer even described his question as “Mr. Softball being lobbed at you” and asked the CEO to run with it), Wouters’ interview and outing to the public (after replacing founding father Alan Klapmeier as CEO) was hardly a trial by fire. It did, however, go beyond the business of Cirrus to make a stand in support of aviation as a tool for small business and framed it as vital to the economy. This is an industry that is “instrumental in job growth and job production in the U.S.,” Wouters said. Wouters said general aviation has a “legitimate business” purpose, is safe, and provides “a value proposition” for the business owners “on a day-to-day basis” and noted the specific efficiencies of his company’s large-capacity, low-speed Vision jet. The car company CEOs, he said (who notoriously flew to D.C. independently in their own business jets to ask for billions of taxpayer dollars) could have arrived together in one Vision jet operating at “one twentieth” the cost. The argument effectively supports Cirrus’ recent strategy that shifts resources from the piston line toward development of the seven-place, single-engine Vision jet. Wouters’ also used his visit to Fox to push Cirrus’ new marketing plan, which it calls “Flying 2.0.”

In some ways, Wouters’ visit to Fox business news seemed to be an effort to explain Cirrus as a company for Joe the intelligent business jet flyer who employs people rather than one for Joe the self-serving wasteful CEO who fires them. In an appeal to the broader audience, Cirrus’ plan “Flying 2.0” juxtaposes modern general aviation with old “Flying 1.0” hub-and-spoke commercial air travel. It describes Cirrus products as “state-of-the-art technology, safety, reliability, comfort, and performance” and adds an old Porsche tag line (that’s been Cirrusized): “Accept no substitute.” (Porsche once advertised, “Porsche. There is no substitute.”) Cirrus’ Flying 2.0 Web page contrasts “uncomfortable, unpredictable, expensive” and inflexible travel options (those offered by traditional air travel) with “travel as enjoyable as it is cost-efficient and time-saving” (those offered by Cirrus). Taking aim on fear of flying and targeting its competition, Cirrus touts CAPS (Cirrus’ full-plane parachute system) as “a safety feature even the airlines cannot boast.” According to Cirrus, “Time is the new money,” and Cirrus’ Flying 2.0 is “about being there.”

NOTE: Cirrus has posted the Fox business news interview to its own Web page that also details “Flying 2.0.” Find it here.