Alan Klapmeier Responds to Reports of Being 'Kicked Upstairs'


Alan Klapmeier says clearly that he will continue to be involved day-to-day, and to "guide the direction" of Cirrus Design, the company he and his brother Dale founded. In a management shift scheduled to become effective on February 1, current chief operating officer Brent Wouters (formerly chief financial officer) will become CEO, and Klapmeier will continue in his role as chairman. Klapmeier told Flying that the private equity funding sources that support Cirrus were looking for more direct oversight of day-to-day fiscal responsibilities, and one reason for the switch is that his travel schedule sometimes delayed decisions unnecessarily, resulting in wasted cash. Klapmeier looks forward to becoming more engaged in advocating general aviation at all levels, and said he is "uniquely qualified" to speak out in public in defense of GA, because, he said, "When Ed [Bolen, CEO of NBAA], Pete [Bunce, CEO of GAMA] or Jack [Pelton, Chairman of Cessna] takes a position defending corporate jets, critics can say, 'He's just lobbying, or trying to sell more Citations.' But as a manufacturer of small airplanes, I don't have that perception out there." He also said, regarding the current economic climate, "We're well positioned to weather the downturn." Though he indicated it's never good having to scale back employment and production, he reiterated that GA has always been a cyclical business, and the companies that prosper are the ones that are able to make adjustments and come out the other side that much stronger."-To read Robert Goyer's take on how business aviation needs to address its image crisis, see Defending Business Aviation and Getting it Wrong