Eclipse Jet founders Mike Press and Mason Holland announced March 20 that their new company is a partnership formed with Roel Pieper, Raul Segredo and John Cracken “to acquire and operate the assets of Eclipse Aviation Corporation for the benefit of existing and future customers. Eclipse Jet will focus on building a healthy, viable platform for the Eclipse 500 business, including service, support, training and production for a global market.”“When Mason and I set out to form Eclipse Jet,” said Press, “we wanted to recruit as our partners a group of Eclipse owners and depositors who were representative of and sensitive to the interests of all Eclipse owners and depositors, and expert in either private-equity acquisitions or the operation of aircraft or aircraft-component OEMs. We set out to form an enduring company with sustainable competitive advantages, and wanted each of our partners to be positioned to help us capture the assets of Eclipse and then transition our company into a top-notch aircraft OEM maximizing the potential of the Eclipse 500,” he explained.
Pieper was the CEO of Tandem Computer before it was sold to Compaq in 1997. He is a former board member of Compaq and Dutch electronics-giant, Philips Electronics. He was CEO of Eclipse from July 2008 until the company’s bankruptcy at the end of the year, having replaced Eclipse founder Vern Raburn.
“For the last year, he’s been in the midst of Eclipse’s diligence in connection with reducing [Eclipse’s] production costs and expanding the market for the Eclipse 500 throughout Europe,” Holland said. “He understands from actual experience all of the issues Mike, Raul and I have been modeling. Our go-forward plan is now better informed regarding how to deliver the Eclipse 500 to a worldwide audience and avoid the pitfalls Eclipse learned through its past experiences.”
Segredo is the co-founder, president and CEO of Avionica, founded in 1992 to build data recorders and satellite-communications gear four aviation users. “Boeing intends to equip its first 787 with Avionica’s satellite-communications gear,” Press pointed out. “Raul Segredo is passionate about the potential of the Eclipse 500 and our ability to build a company that both serves Eclipse’s owners and depositors and delivers the value of the Eclipse 500 to a new audience,” he stated. “He’s spent the last 15 years of his career operating and growing an aviation-component OEM dealing closely with both the FAA on regulatory issues and some of the leading and most demanding aircraft OEMs. Raul brings to us great perspective on how to manage an aviation start-up to ensure efficient operations and a continuous, reasonable gross margin. Further, his concept of ‘Customer First’ reaches the core of Eclipse Jet.”
Cracken is a managing director of Dallas-based private-equity firm Cracken, Harkey & Co. L.L.C. “John Cracken is a veteran private-equity professional, and we’re relying upon [him] to manage our corporate and bankruptcy legal team,” Holland said. “We’ve asked John and our legal team to respond under considerable time pressure, and they’re committed to our timetable,” he added.
“Our…team intends to capture Eclipse’s assets, lead a transition team to both restore fleet services and support and recruit a seasoned senor management team to lead Eclipse, and resume production,” Holland stated.
Eclipse Jet intends to announce further details of its plan shortly, he said.
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