Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Goodrich CFO saw transformation from tires to aerospace


Goodrich Corp. Chief Financial Officer Scott Kuechle recalls when he first started at the company about 25 years ago the firm was mainly in tires, commodity chemicals and industrial products. Aerospace defense was a “very small” component buried in its industrial business. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

“It was really visionary by some of the leaders back then to understand what of those industries were really going to survive and thrive in the next generation of workers and where the economy was going,” he said in an interview at a Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit.

“And they had the foresight to basically sell off about 90 percent of the company and reinvest that along the way in the areas that actually could grow and could be sustainable long term,” Kuechle said. “It was an incredibly gutsy move to take the core of the company and basically reinvent it along the way.”

Kuechle called the transformation exciting to watch and described it as “an underappreciated reinvention of an American company.”

Rockwell Collins CEO: ex-fighter pilot sees need for pilotless aircraft


On the surface, it would appear that a fighter pilot would have little interest in a remotely piloted aircraft, which more and more are being used in wars for reconnaissance and firing missiles.

It isn’t too big a leap to wonder whether in the future perhaps drones will take away jobs from fighter pilots.

L-3 chief Strianese: “I was not born a CEO”


The Chief Executive Officer of L-3 Communications says he’s a “city kid” from New York who worked his way up from loading trucks in the Bronx as a college student to being in charge of  a large U.S. defense contractor. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

And so he takes exception when people demonize CEOs just for the sake of it.

“We went though a period of time where CEOs were cast as the villains of the earth,” Michael Strianese said in an interview at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit.

A drone by any other name…


The drone that was formerly known as the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has a new name — the Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Air Force leadership discussed it and made a commitment to use the new term, although it does take some getting used to. “The more we use it, the more comfortable we get with it,” he said in an interview at a Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

Pratt and Whitney’s Hess: corporate jets got bad rap


Pratt and Whitney President David Hess says corporate jets got a bad rap from Washington and the rhetoric hurt the industry.

Remember the furor over automakers arriving for congressional hearings late last year in corporate jets to ask for bailouts? And how President Barack Obama and his administration was publicly angry that Citigroup was purchasing a $50 million plane while receiving government funds from the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Lockheed CEO: “Not miffed” over Obama nixing presidential helicopter


President Barack Obama was quite blunt earlier this year about a  new fleet of presidential helicopters being built by Lockheed Martin Corp., citing it as an example of the procurement process “gone amok.”

And he axed the program, forcing the defense contractor to stop development of the helicopter in mid-air, so to speak. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit 2009 Liveblog


As President Barack Obama sends more troops to Afghanistan, and the Pentagon is expected to increase orders of armored trucks, helicopters, ammunition and other weaponry, Reuters specialist journalists are talking to some of the biggest names in the aerospace and defense industries.

Among those who will be speaking to us this coming week: Lockheed Martin CEO Robert Stevens, US Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, and L-3 Communications Holdings CEO Michael Strianese.

Brazil on everyone’s lips (and in pockets too)


Forget China, at least for now. That “B” in BRICs is really gaining momentum. Many investment managers attending the “Reuters Investment Outlook Summit 2010″ in New York this week mentioned Brazil as a hot destination to park money next year.

There is a growing perception among decision makers that Brazil is on the right track for dynamic growth.
Pimco’s founder Bill Gross, who helps oversee $940 billion in fixed-income securities, says both China and Brazil have big domestic markets with relatively low consumption levels, around 30 percent of GDP, and still room to grow.

from Aaron Pressman:

Dubai crisis will not spread, says Invesco’s Garnick

dubaiDubai's financial problems have spooked investors around the world. Moody's Investors Service didn't help matters on Wednesday when it said it would review the ratings of  not just of Dubai, but of neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi and the federal government of the seven-member United Arab Emirates federation. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both part of the UAE, the world's third-largest oil exporter.

But Invesco's sassy market watcher, Diane Garnick, says the crisis isn't likely to spread. Based on her past visits to Dubai, which she dubs a "Las Vegas-wannabe," she expects little fall-out for other world markets.

Talbots still has too many shops: shortseller


KRAVETZApparel retailer Talbots announced a deal that will reduce its debt by about $330 million through its purchase of a blank check company.

The company, which caters to older women, has suffered since it bought trendier retailer J. Jill in 2006 for $517 million. But it resold it this year to private equity firm Golden Gate for $75 million.