The appointment by Wheels Up comes on the heels of launching aircraft sales and a diversity push
Wheels Up yesterday said it had appointed Thomas W. Bergeson as its chief operating officer with Jason Horowitz, the current COO moving into a new role as the chief business officer.
Most recently, the group had tapped former JetSuite and Flexjet executive Stephanie Chung as chief growth officer to expand its reach into diverse markets. It also launched a whole aircraft sales group last month, bringing onboard executives from QS Partners and Jetcraft, two leaders in that segment.
Wheels Up growth via acquisition
During the past year-and-a-half it has expanded from selling memberships to owning three of the nine largest Part 135 operators – Gama Aviation Signature, Delta Private Jets and TMC Jets. It also acquired B2B technology platform Avianis.
According to the press release, “Bergeson will provide leadership across the operations as Wheels Up continues to integrate its recent acquisitions.”
“General Bergeson and Jason Horowitz are fulfilling two dynamic roles at Wheels Up that will be integral to our continued growth,” said Kenny Dichter, the company’s founder and CEO in the announcement.
He added, “I’m honored that General Bergeson is joining our team bringing his impressive record of leadership and service, and Jason’s experience as a leader within our organization makes him the ideal person for the new CBO role to drive stakeholder value.”
Bergeson served in the US Air Force for 35 years. His experience in aviation and management spans the globe and includes more than 3,500 hours flown in various aircrafts as a fighter pilot. Most recently, he served as Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command where he oversaw military security cooperation and combat operations within the Arabian Peninsula, Northern Red Sea, Arabian Gulf, and Central and Southern Asian States. He has commanded numerous organizations at every level and his honors include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal and Defense Superior Service Medal, among many others.
In his new role, Horowitz will with Dichter and chief financial officer Eric Jacobs on strategic opportunities, M&A, and capital markets to maximize the value of Wheels Up, the company said.
As measured by Part 135 and 91K flight hours, Wheels Up is now second behind NetJets. It holds 7.5% market share for Part 135/91K flying and 3.6% of the total market, including Part 91 activity. NetJets controls 21.4% of the Part 135/91K market and 10.2% of the total market.
Prior to its dealmaking spree, Wheels Up was estimated to be approaching $400 million in annual sales through its various membership offerings.