There can't be many people in aerospace who won't miss Mauricio Botelho when he steps down from being head of Embraer next year. He's put in an extraordinary performance for the Brazilian company, but he's won a zillion friends while doing it.
If ever there was the right man at the right time then it was Botelho. He had a vision for Embraer that gave the company precisely the focus it needed after some stumbles early on, calling on his countrymen to raise their eyes and aim high. And it worked.
There's resentment in Bombardier and Canada of course over the way the Brazilians pretty flagrantly abused state financing rules before the WTO invevitably came down against it. But who on earth could blame them? How often does a developing world nation get to throw its weight around in that particular forum?
Embraer is top dog in its primary sector just now, but the Canadians could be back with a bang in the next couple of years. both companies are going to face the challenge of managing an alarming number of unwanted 50-seat regional jets, but both were smart enough to realise the writing was on the wall and get out of that game at the right moment. (Having had the sagas of Fokker, SAAB and British Aerospace to learn from of course.) With the benefit of some enforced breathing space Bombardier could just get it right with the CSeries.
So the task facing Botelho's successor is not simple. If it's the similarly well-liked Fred Curado then I wish him well. But with the 170/190 line now well-established, I think Embraer's board will be worrying more about how to expand out of the RJ niche. And I wonder if they think Curado is the man to do that? Perhaps an outsider with more intimate military connections might look attractive. Successions can be fraught with difficulty however. (Isn't that right Airbus?)