Dale Klapmeier Stepping Down as Cirrus CEO

Company co-founder will transition into advisory role next year.

Dale Klapmeier cirrus
Dale Klapmeier has been CEO of Cirrus Aircraft since 2011.Cirrus Aircraft

Dale Klapmeier is stepping down as chief executive officer of Cirrus Aircraft next year, but he will stay on with the company in a senior advisory role, allowing him to focus on “long-term strategic opportunities.” A search is underway for a successor.

Klapmeier co-founded Cirrus with his brother Alan in 1984, and led the company as it eventually evolved into the world's most successful light piston aircraft manufacturer with its SR20 and SR22 models. More recently, Cirrus has made the transition into turbine airplane manufacturing with the single-engine SF50 Vision Jet, winner of this year's prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy as well as the 2018 Flying Innovation Award.

“Re-imagining personal transportation has been our lifelong mission at Cirrus Aircraft,” Klapmeier said. “We’ve changed the face of aviation over the past 30 years: from delivering more than 7,000 of the world’s best-selling high-performance piston aircraft, to fundamentally rethinking how we travel, with the introduction of the world’s first single-engine personal jet — the Vision Jet — to transforming our business into a lifestyle company that defines our path ahead.”

Cirrus has been owned since 2011 by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), a division of the Chinese state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). That was the year Klapmeier stepped into the CEO role. The company has expanded operations from its original factory in Duluth, Minnesota, to a new customer delivery center in Knoxville, where Klapmeier has been splitting his time.

“Transitioning out of day-to-day operations will give me the opportunity to focus on long-term strategic opportunities,” Klapmeier said. “I could not be more confident in the team and I am excited for what lies ahead for the entire Cirrus family. For Cirrus Aircraft employees, partners, and owners around the world, the best is yet to come.”