Textron last week unexpectedly removed Bell Helicopter president and chief executive Mike Redenbaugh. In a letter to employees, Textron chairman Lewis Campbell wrote that he and Redenbaugh "agreed that a different set of leadership skills were required to lead Bell in the next phase of growth". The official press release said that Redenbaugh had resigned.

Redenbaugh's replacement is Richard Millman, who was most recently president of Textron Systems, a $1 billion business unit producing watercraft, armoured vehicles, aircraft engines and other products.

Bell Helicopter generates revenues of about $2 billion a year. Textron's latest quarterly report hints at problems: the report states that "higher costs to support future growth at Bell had contributed to a decline in profit", despite increased military volume and higher commercial deliveries.

"We expect revenues at Bell for the full year [2006] to increase over 2005, while profit is expected to decrease," the report says.

Source: Flight International