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Tue, Oct 18, 2005

Aero-Cast Special Report: New Piper CEO James K. Bass Speaks To ANN

What Does The Future Hold For The Company In His Hands?

The September 13 announcement sent shivers through the collective spine of the GA community: the unexpected news of the removal of Chuck Suma, New Piper Aircraft's popular and highly visible President and CEO, in favor of relative unknown James K. Bass. Silence is filled with fear, and little was initially known about Bass's interests in aviation... or in the New Piper Aircraft company.

One fact that was indisputable, however, was Bass's history. As was reported extensively in Aero-News, Bass was previously CEO of Arizona-based Suntron Electronics. Under his reign, the Arizona-based electronics firm shut down plants in the United States and then out-sourced its production forces to Mexico, subsequently expanding those operations by nearly 300 percent.

The rumors started flying as fast as a Meridian at FL 210. Was Bass brought in to perform a similar role with New Piper, by relocating vital areas of this distinctly American company overseas? And was his installation as CEO merely a foreshadowing of a potential selloff of the iconic airplane manufacturer?

Little was known of Bass's plans... until he sat down with ANN's Editor In Chief, Jim Campbell, for today's ASR (ANN Special Report) Aero-Cast. He answers the BIG questions... NO plans to sell the company, NO Plans for off-shoring, and MORE hiring to come... and there's talk of "Re-Engining" a number of Piper's proud line. Want to know more? Just listen in...


New Piper's James K. Bass Speaks With Aero-News' E-I-C Jim Campbell


"Legacy can offer a dichotomy of strengths, and also potential weaknesses..." Bass tells ANN, discussing Piper's rich heritage and loyalty of its customers.

"From a problem standpoint, when you have such a tremendous amount of legacy, there's also costs associated with that legacy."

Bass maintains there are no plans to relocate any part of Piper overseas, nor are there any plans to sell the company. He seems to be in for the long haul -- even moving his family to Vero Beach -- and one thing seems certain: Bass sees a future for New Piper, as well as a need for Piper to move firmly into the 21st century. (Hint, there's talk of a Piper VLJ!)

"You should feel confident that we will be continuing to evolve, adapt and enhance our airplanes to include more technology," says Bass, "to make the plane easier, better and more capable."

Listen to today's ANN Special Report, and give us your feedback! What do you think the future holds for New Piper Aircraft?



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