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Triumph shares jump as new CEO ends uncertainty

Raytheon's Crowley to replace founder Richard Ill

Shares of Triumph Group, Inc., which had lost half their value since May, jumped more than 10% in early trading today after the Chesterbrook-based, $4 billion (yearly-sales) aircraft parts-maker named veteran Raytheon and Lockheed Martin executive Daniel J. Crowley as President, CEO and a board member, ending uncertainty over the company's leadership. Triumph's founding CEO, Richard C. Ill, stepped back into the CEO's office in April after his successor, Jeffry Frisby, departed..

Crowley left a job as President of the $6 billion (yearly sales) Integrated Defense Systems business at aerospace contractor Raytheon Co. to run Triumph, which counts Airbus, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Bombardier, Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky among its clients. Desite its blue-chip client list and a backlog of orders worth billions, Triumph has struggled with low profitability, integration challenges at more than 60 plants it has combined from a variety of former owners, and changing military and commercial customer demands.

Crowley had earlier run Raytheon's Network Centric Systems Group, and before 2010 was chief operating officer at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. A University of Texas at Austin engineering graduate and Stanford MBA, has helped manage projects building P-3 and S-3 aircraft, Atlas rocket launchers, commercial and intelligence spacecraft, THAAD and Patriot anti-missile systems, and the F-35 Joint Strike Figher.

In a statement, Gen. Ralph "Ed" Eberhart, Triumph's board chairman, said Crowley arrives after a long search and at a time when the company is seeking foreign contracts. He also praised Ill for serving as CEO past his expected retirement "at a critical time." Ill had run Triumph since 1994, when it was spun off by Philadelphia's former Alco conglomerate.

Crowley pronounced himself "deeply honored to succeed Rick as Triumph's next President and CEO. Triumph has emerged as a critical supplier and partner to virtually all Tier 1 aerospace and defense [original-equipment manufacturers] that demand the highest level of quality, affordability and on-time delivery. I look forward to leveraging our comprehensive capabilities and talented workforce to deliver on customer commitments, support Triumph's and our customers' growth objectives, and drive shareholder value."

Added Ill, "The company remains committed to significantly reducing costs, improving execution and leveraging the strength of our portfolio."