MONTREAL –A Canadian entrepreneurial giant who built his family´s snow-machine business into a global transportation leader is retiring and leaving the Bombardier family legacy to a third generation.
The global maker of planes and trains announced yesterday that Pierre Beaudoin, 45-year-old head of the aerospace division, will become chief executive officer effective with the next annual meeting, June 4.
He succeeds his father, Laurent, 69.
Laurent Beaudoin, son-in-law of snowmobile inventor Armand Bombardier, will continue as chair. Beaudoin had become chief executive in 1979 and returned to the job three years ago after the abbreviated tenures of non-family CEOs Robert Brown and Paul Tellier. "After 45 years with the company, I am very proud of what we have all accomplished together," the outgoing CEO said during a conference call.
Karl Moore, a professor at McGill University´s Desautels Faculty of Management, praised Laurent Beaudoin for transforming the Quebec maker of Ski-Doos into one of Canada´s most global companies.
"He created a giant and he helped rescue it over the last five years," Moore said in an interview.
Replacing the elder Beaudoin is someone who has earned the respect of his peers and who has been in training for the position almost since birth, added Moore. "Regardless of his last name, he´s a real executive and deserves a job like this."
Pierre Beaudoin has worked at Bombardier for 22 years. He has headed the Bombardier Aerospace division for six years and has been executive vice-president and a director of the parent firm since 2004. He previously was president of now-privatized Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo maker Bombardier Recreational Products. Beaudoin declined to say how he will put his stamp on the company. His successor as head of the aerospace division will be selected after an internal and outside search, he said.
The announcement of the generational change wasn´t a surprise but came as Bombardier reported a third-quarter profit of $ 91 million (U.S.), up from $ 74 million in the year-earlier period. Bombardier stock closed up 28 cents (Canadian), or more than 5 per cent, at $ 5.76 in heavy trading of more than 21 million shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange yesterday. The company´s shares have traded between $ 3.67 and $ 6.97 in the past 52 weeks. The Montreal-based company said revenue was $ 4.23 billion (U.S.) in the quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $ 3.4 billion a year earlier. Diluted per-share earnings rose to five cents from four cents. The Bombardier Transportation railway-equipment division pulled in revenue of $ 1.88 billion, up from $ 1.55 billion. Bombardier Aerospace revenues increased 21 per cent to $ 2.35 billion.
"Once again, both groups have performed well on all fronts, with increased revenues, profitability and cash generation," Laurent Beaudoin said. "Overall backlog is a new record high of $ 51.6 billion, and both groups are showing progress towards their performance targets."
Business orders show no sign of letting up, despite a slowdown in the United States economy. A recovery in the regional jet market has led the company to boost production of CRJ-700 and CRJ-900 aircraft to one every three days from one every four days. New orders for the Q400 turboprop demonstrate the continued confidence customers have in the product despite a recent series of non-fatal crash landings involving the aircraft´s landing gear, Pierre Beaudoin said. The financial impact of a lawsuit launched by Swedish airline SAS isn´t expected to be material, he added. Bombardier´s insurance will cover claims not funded by landing gear supplier Goodrich Inc. Bombardier has launched a series of newspaper advertisements extolling the merits of the aircraft.
"Our intent is to remind everyone what airlines know around the world: that the Q-400 is a very efficient airplane and has a great safety record with 20 operators around the world."