Ernest leaves Textron Aviation for golf course(s)



The things people will do to avoid visiting Orlando.

Just three days before the National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), Textron has announced that Scott Ernest is now switching to become president and CEO of Textron’s Industrial Segment.

Ronald Draper – who was Textron Aviation’s senior vice president, integrated supply chain (Operations) – will now be handing out freshly printed business cards saying president and CEO of Textron Aviation.

Ernest joined from GE in 2011. Although he has not presided over a boom in orders, his Textron Aviation legacy is a good one. He genuinely transformed the business when it acquired Hawker Beechcraft in 2014 and leaves the company with exciting new aircraft coming, like the Citation Longitude and the Cessna Denali.

Buying a company is easy, but his greatest (and most overlooked) achievement was integrating the two businesses. He was well suited to this after his time in operations at GE. And it is easy to overlook the cultural issues involved with merging two arch rivals.

Ernest is now in charge of a mixed group including E-Z-GO (golf carts), Arctic Cat (snowmobiles – the product that launched Bombardier), Textron Off Road, Jacobsen (lawnmowers), Cushman (golf carts, floor polishers and other vehicles), and Textron Ground Support Equipment (airport vehicles).

Ernest enjoyed moving people into different roles – at one meeting with five senior Textron Aviation managers at NBAA last year he was the only one who had been in the same role for 12 months. He also moved Draper – who has worked at Bell and in golf carts – over in 2012.

His (also GE-trained) boss Scott Donnelly, president and CEO of Textron has done the same thing to him.

“Scott begins his leadership of Textron Specialized Vehicles at a time when his experience will be especially valuable,” Said Donnelly. “Scott brings an extensive track record of success in taking businesses to the next level— something he did very well at Textron Aviation, and I’m confident he will do at Textron Specialized Vehicles.”

Of course, Ernest’s move really has nothing to do with avoiding Orlando. In his new role he will no doubt be spending a lot of time on the golf courses of Florida.