Last month Gogo replaced its longtime CEO, with Oakleigh Thorne taking control from Michael Small. Some 6 weeks later we now know the next phase of changes for the company. The company will create a President position in each of the Commercial Aviation (CA) and Business Aviation (BA) groups as well as a Chief Strategy Officer role. All three will be filled with current, long-term Gogo employees. The new positions and assignments take effect 1 May 2018.
- John Wade will serve as the first President of Gogo’s Commercial Aviation Division (CA) In this new position, he will have end-to-end responsibility for managing all aspects of the CA business, including product development, technology, sales, account management, quality, marketing and all aspects of product delivery.
- Sergio Aguirre will serve as President of Gogo’s Business Aviation Division. Aguirre will continue to be responsible for managing the Business Aviation (BA) division and will now report directly to the CEO, Oakleigh Thorne.
- Jon Cobin will serve as Chief Strategy Officer and EVP Corporate Development. In this newly created role, Cobin will be responsible for leading Gogo’s companywide business, strategic planning and corporate development efforts as Gogo seeks to leverage the CA and BA product portfolios to drive growth and shareholder value.
Gogo has a deep bench of talent and this realigns our leadership structure to accelerate our strategic priorities of driving quality for airlines and passengers and sharpening our operational focus. These appointments will help Gogo fully capitalize on John and Sergio’s deep aviation experience while enhancing accountability with end-to-end responsibility for our two critical divisions. We are also confident that Jon’s new role will help maximize the value of inflight internet and help us realize our significant long-term growth and value creation opportunities. – Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s president and CEO.
Also announced is a shift in role for CTO Anand Chari. The new organization structure will transition him to Strategic Technology Advisor. Chari proved instrumental in the development of the company’s ATG and satellite connectivity platforms. At first blush this appears to be a reduction in responsibilities for Chari; a request for clarification from the company on this is pending at time of publication.
Such changes are not surprising following the arrival of a new CEO. In this case the changes keep long-time employees in control rather than bringing in outsiders to lead the groups. The new alignments also appear to shift the company’s focus from the technology to the business of the technology. Part of that transition includes a greater focus on the software and services aspects of inflight connectivity than the hardware and data pipe.
At Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg earlier this month the company launched the FLEX Developer platform which “allows airlines and third-parties to quickly build, test, and deploy branded inflight services for passengers and other connected applications.” The FLEX platform is aimed at easing the integration process for the airlines that are buying connectivity wholesale from Gogo rather than the full-service turnkey kit. Challenges in portal services stymied the IAG rollout recently; the new FLEX Developer solution is aimed at reducing the challenges for such efforts.
Anything to further those efforts and drive faster, more reliable deployment of Gogo systems on aircraft and to ease passenger uptake (and associated Gogo revenues) should be seen as a positive for the company. It is still too early in Thorne’s reign as CEO to judge where the company sits on that path but these early moves appear well aligned with that goal.
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