March 17, 2015: c. Leeham Co. Turmoil at Bombardier, both financial and with the departure of several key personnel, caused a crisis in confidence among customers and shareholders. The stock price took a tumble and some Canadian aerospace analysts, and the few on Wall Street who also follow the stock, have become increasingly pessimistic. Leeham News and Comment published a long analysis after Ray Jones departed Bombardier Commercial Aircraft in a surprise move, the latest in a series of top-level departures at the unit. Market reaction was decidedly negative.
CEO Pierre Beaudoin stepped up February 12 to executive chairman, relinquishing the chief executive title of Bombardier to Alain Bellemare, a veteran of Pratt & Whitney whose appointment was generally well received.
Still, customers we talked with continue to be cautious. One has a wait-and-see about what Bellemare will be able to achieve, and how soon. This customer believes Bellemare has until the Paris Air Show in June to show some tangible progress.
Another customer was considerably more upbeat, viewing the appointment as a major change in the company for the better.
Canadian analysts were positive about the management changes, in part because the market has lost confidence in the Beaudoin management and in part because Bellemare and his PW experience are viewed as heavy-weight.
We sat down with Ross Mitchell, vice president of Business Acquisitions and Commercial Aircraft for Bombardier, at the ISTAT conference last week in Phoenix for a wide-ranging interview. Here is Part 1.