Aerospace industry veteran C. Jeffrey Knittel, formerly both Chief Executive of C2 Aviation Capital and President of CIT Transportation Finance, will join Airbus early next year, taking the reins of the company's business in the Americas.
Mr. Knittel, who brings more than 25 years of global aerospace leadership experience to the position, will join the company at its Americas headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, on 12 January, 2018, as Airbus Americas Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Airbus Americas' current CEO, Barry Eccleston, announced that he will retire 28 February, 2018, following more than 12 years of service to Airbus. Allan McArtor, current Chairman of the Board for Airbus Americas since 2001, will remain with the company as Chairman Emeritus.
As Airbus Americas Chairman and CEO, Mr. Knittel will be responsible for Airbus' commercial aircraft business throughout the Americas, as well as for providing leadership for the company's helicopters and space and defense businesses in North America. With more than 5,000 employees, Airbus Americas is the U.S.-based operation of Airbus, encompassing the regional corporate offices, engineering centers, training facilities, MROs and spare parts distribution centers, as well as manufacturing facilities producing commercial aircraft, helicopters and satellites. Already a positive contributor to the region's aerospace design, manufacture and operation, the company plans continued growth of its significant footprint in the Americas in the years ahead.
"Jeff Knittel has the perfect skillset to lead the Airbus Americas team into the future, and I am very pleased that he has agreed to join the company – one he already knows well from the perspective of a long-time customer," said Tom Enders, Airbus Chief Executive Officer. "The Americas is a vital region for Airbus – one where we will continue to expand our investments and corporate citizenship, as well as serve and grow our customer and supplier partnerships. Our business there will thrive under Jeff's leadership, business acumen and deep understanding of the forces shaping this market."
Enders added: "We are very grateful also to Allan and Barry for their leadership and outstanding accomplishments for Airbus over the past many years."
Prior to leading C2 Aviation Capital, Mr. Knittel served in a series of senior leadership positions at CIT Group Inc. since joining that company in 1986. From 1982 to 1986, he held various senior management positions with Manufacturers Hanover Leasing Corporation. He began his career with the Cessna Finance Company.
"Airbus has an extraordinary record of achievement in the Americas – especially over the last several years – but it's clear that its greatest opportunities still lie ahead," said Mr. Knittel. "I'm truly excited to join the company and the excellent team in the Americas at such a pivotal time of growth in these markets, and I look forward to building on the strong foundation that the team has already established."
Mr. Knittel is a trustee of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, a member of the Board of the USO of Metropolitan New York, and a member emeritus of the Board of Governors of the Wings Club. Previously, he also served as president of the Board of Directors of Just One Break and as a member of the Board of Trustees at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Mr. Knittel holds a bachelor's degree in aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In addition, he graduated from the Advanced Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.