after blowing billions developing a new jet to compete with airbus and boeing, bombardier almost crashed and burned. now an outsider has taken charge and pulled the Canadian company out of its tailspin—but can he get back up to cruising speed?
Late on a Thursday in January 2015, Alain Bellemare was sitting in his office at United Technologies in Hartford, plotting his next move. Then 53 years old, he had been passed over for CEO, and the company had just announced that afternoon he was quitting his job as head of the conglomerate’s aerospace division when he got a call from his fellow Montreal native and longtime friend Pierre Beaudoin, the CEO of Bombardier.
Beaudoin said he was facing a crisis. His father, Laurent, had transformed the Canadian company from a regional snowmobile maker into a rail giant and, more recently, an aerospace terrier nipping at the heels of Boeing and Airbus, making their family a multibillion fortune in the process. But Pierre had reached too far with the Cseries aircraft, the first plane Bombardier was developing entirely in-house, aimed at a market niche somewhere between a re-
By Jeremy Bogaisky