It is common to overuse the phrase end-of-an era, but Jean/John Rosanvallon’s decision to step down as CEO of Dassault Falcon merits this description.
Rosanvallon joined Dassault Aviation in 1975 to work on its Falcon Jet joint-venture with Pan American World Airways. He became president and CEO in 2003.
Widely liked, even by his fiercest competitors, and a great salesman, Rosanvallon’s contribution to the industry has been huge. It is amazing what you can accomplish in 39 years (he had a brief stint at another Dassault subsidiary).
His successor Thierry Betbeze may have been at Dassault Falcon only for 35 years but is a worthy replacement. Betbeze has been vice president of finance since 2004 and is also charismatic and fiercely intelligent.
Rosanvallon briefly considered becoming a catholic missionary. If he had followed that career path he would probably have ended up as Pope.