Fairchild Industries Inc., in the latest of several recent efforts to break the dramatic profit decline at the Chantilly, Va.-based conglomerate, has selected John W. Sandford as president of Fairchild Republic Co., its aircraft and assembly manufacturing division and the principal source of the company's current problems.
Sandford, 51, formerly was president and vice chairman of deHavilland Aircraft, a major Canadian manufacturer. A self-described management troubleshooter, he was placed in charge of the Farmingdale, N.Y.-based division's daily operations "to restore it to a profitable position," he said.
For the past seven years, Sandford ran deHavilland, a military and commercial aircraft manufacturer roughly the same size as Fairchild Republic. Prior to that, he spent 17 years with Rockwell International, gaining general management experience primarily in its space and general aviation divisions.
At Rockwell, Sandford managed the company's successful bid for the Space Shuttle orbital vehicle and integrated systems contract.
Sandford fills a vacancy created in the spring when Peter J. Sanator, president of the division for roughly a year, was reassigned as an engineering manager in the company's Saab-Fairchild SF340 turboprop airliner program. At the same time, George Attridge, executive vice president for the parent company, was recruited from company headquarters to control the already failing division. In May Sandford was assigned to assist him, he said.
On Thursday, Fairchild reported losses of $82.3 million for the second quarter, stemming, it said, from the creation of $106 million in additional loss reserves for two key aircraft manufacturing projects, the Saab-Fairchild SF340 airliner and the T-46A jet trainer.
Fairchild Republic is developing components of the SF340 airliner, including the engine, wing and tail sections, for its joint venture with Saab-Scania, and develops the T-46A for the Air Force, among other military and commercial contracts.
The additional reserves for the SF340 program were set aside because of higher costs, slow sales and "certain manufacturing performance improvements assumed in previous estimates that did not occur or do not appear likely to occur as projected," the company said.
Additional reserves for the T-46A are because of a "substantially higher estimate of cost to complete the first phases of the T-46A program," the company added.
Fairchild recently announced plans to sell its 50 percent interest in two very profitable telecommunications ventures, American Satellite Co. and Space Communications Co., to offset losses from troubled operations, analysts say.
If Fairchild can control losses in its Republic division programs -- particularly the T-46A project, which is expected to be the more profitable -- it should be able to weather its current crisis, analysts said.