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Bristow, Era Elect Executive Leadership Ahead of Merger Wrap

May 13, 2020

Offshore helicopter service providers Bristow and Era have elected new executive leadership to lead the company once their proposed merger is complete, which is expected to happen next month.

The companies said the executive leadership team will help create "a financially stronger industry leader in offshore helicopter transportation and search and rescue services."

“This new organizational structure and executive team will help position the combined Company to navigate market challenges while better serving our customers with more efficient operations,” said Chris Bradshaw, President and CEO of Era and who will lead the new combined Company. 

“I look forward to working with some of the most talented and experienced leaders in our industry. Together, we will foster a common culture built on a powerful foundation of unmatched safety, service, trust, and teamwork, ready to begin a new chapter in innovative and efficient global helicopter services.”

Under this new structure, the executive leadership team will include:

Chris Bradshaw, currently serving as President and Chief Executive Officer for Era, will become the President and CEO for the combined Company, which will maintain the Bristow name.

David Stepanek will become Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer for the combined Company. In this role, Stepanek will have responsibility for global operations through each of the area managers including flight operations, maintenance, service delivery, supply chain management, training, and information technology.

Alan Corbett will continue to lead as Senior Vice President, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, and Australia and SAR. Corbett will remain responsible for overseeing Bristow operations in Australia, Nigeria, Norway, and the U.K. as well as Bristow’s UK Search and Rescue operations.

Operations under Stepanek and Corbett will be supported by a strong global functional organization led by the following executives:

Stuart Stavley, currently serving as Era Group Senior Vice President, Operations and Fleet Management, will become Senior Vice President, Global Fleet Management responsible for standardized maintenance programs, aircraft specifications and lease agreements, as well as all original equipment manufacturer relationships, quality control of global supply chain operations and aircraft acquisitions and sales.


Samantha Willenbacher
will become Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer; she is currently the Vice President of Global Commercial Strategy for Bristow Group. In her new role, Willenbacher will be responsible for all customer-facing aspects of the business, bid proposals and market research and analysis.

Jennifer Whalen, currently Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer for Era Group, will be Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer on an interim basis until the permanent Chief Financial Officer is named at a future date. The CFO role is responsible for Company accounting, financial reporting, investor relations, strategy and M&A, tax and other financial aspects of the Company.

Crystal Gordon will become Senior Vice President, General Counsel for the combined Company. She is currently serving as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer for Era Group. Gordon will be responsible for legal, compliance, collective bargaining agreements, government relations and contract review and management.

Mary Wersebe, currently serving as Vice President, Human Resources for Bristow Group, will become Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer. Wersebe will be responsible for human resources, benefits and compensation, communications and corporate social responsibility.

James Stottlemyer will become Vice President, Health, Safety and Environment. He is currently serving as Director, Safety Americas and Global Safety Performance for Bristow Group. Stottlemyer will be responsible for safety management systems, health and environment. 

 The combination remains subject to satisfaction of the remaining closing conditions, including approval by Bristow and Era shareholders and other customary conditions.

The structure and executive appointments will be effective upon the close of the transaction and approval by the Board of Directors, currently scheduled for mid-June 2020.

The two helicopter companies, specializing in providing transportation services to the offshore oil and gas industry, in January announced the plan to merge in an all-stock transaction that would create "a financially stronger company with enhanced size and diversification."

The merged company will have a combined fleet of more than 300 of the "industry’s most modern aircraft with the latest generation of technology and safety features." It will become the world’s largest operator of S92, AW189, and AW139 model helicopters.

The combined company will retain the Bristow name and will provide offshore aviation transportation and search and rescue solutions in the Americas, Nigeria, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both companies, Bristow shareholders would own 77% of the equity of the new company and Era shareholders would own 23%.



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