After the jump, text of a press release just out from Eclipse Aviation, timed for the mammoth EAA Oshkosh AirVenture show, announcing that the company has received a new infusion of capital -- and that Vern Raburn, whose role in founding the company I described in Free Flight and whose airplanes I described in this recent Atlantic article, is out as CEO.
Rumors of something like this have been brewing for a long time. Good for aviation, bad for aviation, good or bad for Eclipse, I don't know and am not in a position to find out at the moment. But here is the press release, FYI. Good wishes to Vern, good wishes to the company, let's see where this leads.
Eclipse Aviation Receives First Funds in New Round of Financing; Founder Vern Raburn Steps Down as President/CEO; Roel Pieper Takes on CEO Role
Board of Directors Commits to New Round of Financing; Tasks Chairman Roel Pieper with Growth and Operational Excellence
OSHKOSH, WI - July 28, 2008 - Eclipse Aviation, manufacturer of the world's first very light jet (VLJ), today announced it has received first funds in a new round of financing that will take the company to cash flow positive. 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.
"As Founder and CEO, Vern can be credited with creating the now prevalent very light jet category and achieving what the industry did not think possible. Under his leadership, the company has delivered more than 230 Eclipse 500 aircraft and introduced the coveted Eclipse 400," said Roel Pieper, Eclipse Aviation Chairman. "It is now time to take the company to the next level of growth and operational excellence and this is what the board has tasked me to do. I will work toward this goal in the coming period."
Roel Pieper has extensive international management experience having served as President and CEO of Tandem Computers (TDM), President and CEO of UNIX System Laboratories (USL), President and CEO of Ungermann-Bass (TDM) as well as Senior Vice President of Strategy at Philips N.V. of The Netherlands and Chief Technology Officer at Software AG of Germany.
In addition, he was formerly a Director of Computer Associates (CA) and Veritas Software (VRTS). He is currently Chairman and Founder of European Technology and Investment Research Center (ETIRC) Aviation, a company organized to provide business communities with affordable, on-demand, point-to-point air-taxi jet travel and also the largest shareholder in Eclipse.
"I am proud to have led the team that succeeded in creating the very light jet category and shipping the safest Part 23 aircraft in decades," said Vern Raburn, Founder of Eclipse Aviation. "I love this company and the people who built it with me and my first objective is to do whatever I can to enable its ongoing success. I am pleased that our Chairman is deeply committed to the same goal."
Raburn will continue to provide counsel to Pieper and will assume the Vice Chairman role at ETIRC Aviation, assisting in the global expansion of the Eclipse 500.
About ETIRC Aviation
ETIRC Aviation S.a.r.l. is a principal driver of the VLJ industry, creating virtual jet networks for airlines and aviation entrepreneurs.
This will provide business communities with affordable, on-demand, point-to-point jet travel that drives productivity. ETIRC Aviation will offer a full range of white-label VLJ services to virtual jet network and jet taxi operators, including a real-time operations system, fleet financing, VLJ leasing, business consultancy, pilots, training programmes and VLJ maintenance centres. ETIRC Aviation is headquartered in Luxembourg and has offices in Moscow, Istanbul and Cyprus. The company was founded by Roel Pieper, a former top-level executive at Tandem Computers, Compaq Computer, and Philips Electronics. ETIRC Aviation S.a.r.l. has its principal place of business at 16 Rue Jean-Pierre Brasseur, L-1258 Luxembourg. ETIRC Aviation is registered under R.C. Luxembourg B 95 627. Contact ETIRC at www.etirc.com.
About Eclipse Aviation
Eclipse Aviation is the world's leading very light jet (VLJ) manufacturer, producing innovative, affordable jets that are revolutionizing air transportation. The company created the VLJ category with the design, certification and delivery of the Eclipse
500(r) - the industry's first VLJ. Eclipse applies advances in technology, manufacturing processes and business practices to create high-performance aircraft that provide the lowest cost of jet ownership ever achieved. By changing the value proposition for private jet travel, Eclipse is allowing more pilots to enter the world of jet-powered aviation and enabling a new generation of entrepreneurs to help business travelers move between cities on a quick, affordable and convenient basis. Contact Eclipse at www.eclipseaviation.com.