Aerion Corporation, the leader in supersonic technology, announced today that Brian E. Barents, the company's current co-chairman, has been named Executive Chairman with broad responsibility for overseeing the corporate strategy that will bring the AS2 supersonic business jet to market. Aerion and GE Aviation in May launched a process to define a final engine configuration for the AS2, and Aerion is in the midst of multiple discussions that will lead to an industrialization plan.
Robert M. Bass, chairman of the Aerion board of directors, stated that "This step strengthens the capability of the Aerion organization by elevating a singularly prominent industry veteran to further relationships with key decision makers at OEMs, tier-one suppliers, and other critical constituencies.
"Brian brings to this new role a uniquely successful career in aviation turn-arounds, startups, and new product launches," Bass said. In the 70s and 80s, Barents served as senior vice president of sales and marketing for Cessna Aircraft Company and general manager of its quickly growing Citation Division. During his tenure Cessna became the largest seller of corporate jets
Subsequently, as president of Learjet, he took the company out of bankruptcy, engineered its sale to Bombardier in 1991, and revitalized its product line with the Learjet Model 45 and Model 60 business jets. As managing partner and CEO of Galaxy Aerospace from 1996 to 2001, he introduced the first super midsize business jet, built a $2 billion backlog, and negotiated the sale of the company to General Dynamics, which merged it with Gulfstream.
Barents serves or has served on the boards of a number of aerospace companies, including Kaman Corporation, CAE, and The Nordam Group. He is a former chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and a retired brigadier general in the United States Air Force and Kansas Air National Guard.
Barents will manage Aerion and work closely with Doug Nichols, who will continue in his current capacity leading the day-to-day operations of Aerion.