in Aerospace / Defence

Rolls-Royce announces Civil Aerospace and Defence leadership appointments

Posted 31 January 2018 · Add Comment

Rolls-Royce announced today that Chris Cholerton, currently President – Defence, has been appointed as President – Civil Aerospace and Tom Bell, previously Global Sales & Marketing for Defense, Space & Security at Boeing, is returning to lead Rolls-Royce's enlarged Defence business.



The appointments will take effect during February and both presidents will report to Chief Executive Warren East as members of the Executive Leadership Team.

Chief Executive Warren East said: “I am pleased to announce the leadership of our Civil Aerospace and Defence businesses. Both appointments provide a combination of deep industry expertise with a fundamental understanding of our business.”

“This is a crucial time for Civil Aerospace as we deliver the most significant increase in engine production in recent memory while managing a number of in-service issues and bringing several new engines into service. Chris has a thorough understanding of all aspects of the business, from engineering, product development and supply chain infrastructure, to operational and service delivery. He has a proven track record in building strong relationships with customers and a leadership style that champions simplicity.

“The expansion of our Defence business creates a real opportunity for Rolls-Royce to provide customers with a more integrated range of products and services, exploit new technologies and explore new markets. Tom brings with him valuable experience of the wider defence industry from his time within the leadership of a fully integrated global defence company. He is a leader with courage and conviction and I look forward to him bringing his vigour, enthusiasm and industry expertise to Rolls-Royce Defence and the wider leadership team.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my personal thanks to Chris Young and the Civil Aerospace leadership team for their excellent support over the recent transition period.” 

Chris Cholerton has held engineering, programme and operational leadership positions in both our Civil Aerospace and Defence businesses. He has worked closely with key airframe partners, airline customers and governments, serves on the Board of Rolls-Royce North America Holdings Inc. and has led our Defence business since 2015.

Prior to his current role he ran an important part of our global supply chain operation, covering manufacturing plants, purchasing and strategy. From 2006 to early 2012, Chris led Civil Aerospace’s largest new product introduction and production programmes, including as Director of the Trent XWB programme where he achieved milestones up to the first engine flight. Before this, he held posts as Director – Boeing Programmes and Director – Airbus Production Programmes. He joined Rolls-Royce as an undergraduate in 1981 and is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Fellow of the Association of Project Management.

Chris said: “I am delighted to take up this fantastic opportunity at such an important time for Rolls-Royce. Civil Aerospace has huge potential as we deliver on the ramp-up in engine production and see the size of the in-service fleet double over the coming years. I recognise that there are also challenges as we manage issues with our in-service fleet and minimising disruption will be a key area of focus for me. I look forward to engaging with customers, starting next week at the Singapore Airshow.”

Tom Bell is currently senior vice president of Global Sales & Marketing for Defense, Space & Security at The Boeing Company. Prior to joining Boeing in 2015, Tom was President of Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace having joined as President, Customer Business, North America in mid-2012. Previously he had spent over two decades with Boeing in a variety of leadership positions within the Defense, Space and Security Business and began his aerospace career with Lockheed Martin in Human Space Flight. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Defense Industrial Association.

Tom said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for me to return to Rolls-Royce and lead an enlarged Defence business. Our greater scale gives us the opportunity to strengthen our relationships with customers, keeping them at the heart of all we do, and offering them a much more integrated approach to solving their mission-critical power challenges. I look forward to working with the team and helping to realise the full potential that we have in Rolls-Royce Defence.”

Tom is a US citizen and as a result, Rolls-Royce will ensure that the proper structures are in place within our enlarged Defence business to ensure that the relevant UK security conditions and restrictions are enforced.

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