Marion Blakey is leaving the Aerospace Industries Association, where she has been president and CEO since 2007, to become the president and CEO of Rolls Royce North America, AIA announced Tuesday. James Guyette is retiring from the Rolls job in May. Blakey’s contract had recently been renewed through 2016. Throughout her tenure she worked to educate Congress on the huge contributions of aerospace to the national economy and the perils facing it due to sequestration. Addressing journalists and industry communicators in December, Blakey—who previously served as administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration—released the results of a Harris poll underwritten by AIA that indicated more than two-thirds of Americans wanted the Budget Control Act-driven defense sequester caps lifted. She warned members of Congress and candidates for 2016 office to ignore this sentiment “at your own peril.” An AIA spokesman said the transition will not be immediate, but the AIA Board, led by GE Aviation chief David Joyce, “have already begun” seeking Blakey’s successor. The process is moving quickly, he said, adding it is “unlikely that there will be any time when an interim CEO is needed.” The AIA and Air Force Association are strategic partners on a number of educational projects.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.