Bombardier says Gary Scott's resignation "comes at a time when there is significant momentum with the CSeries aircraft programme with respect to orders and options, and the programme is progressing well - and there is nothing to suggest it will not continue to do so after his departure".
But where Bombardier sees movement, others perceive stagnation.
George Hamlin, president of Hamlin Transportation Consulting, says: "Gary Scott has fought the good fight with [the CSeries] and, frankly, I am surprised that the orderbook isn't a little larger."
But Hamlin does not think Scott's departure comes at the best time for the CSeries, which is expected to make its first flight in 2012 and enter service in the latter part of 2013. "Gary has brought the programme to where it is," says Hamlin. "On the other hand, it would appear to be stalled sales-wise."
Teal Group vice-president analysis Richard Aboulafia is even more sceptical about the CSeries orderbook, noting that Bombardier's "biggest endorsement", its 40 orders from Republic Airways Holdings, "are for somebody who just ordered a direct equivalent jet from someone else", the similarly powered Airbus A319neo with Pratt & Whitney geared turbofans.
"You have to be seriously incompetent as an airline to end up with both CSeries CS300s and A319neos," says Aboulafia. "It doesn't get any more direct than that. So there is a big question mark over those 40."
What Bombardier needs now, says Aboulafia, is more people selling the CSeries. "It needs more sales resources and aggressiveness across the board. I don't know what the problem is here, and the people who are friends of the programme seem to be enabling behaviour that is complacent, at best."
Aboulafia says steep discounts, residual guarantees, leasing and/or financing are "four great areas to pursue and they are not pursuing".
Bombardier's regional jet and turboprop businesses are also underperforming, with the backlog of the Q400 series and the CRJ declining sharply.
Source: Flight International