Fred Reid, the former Virgin America executive who has steered Bombardier’s Flexjet unit through the economic downturn, has resigned from his position, effective immediately. Bombardier promoted Deanna White to take the helm of the fractional ownership provider.

Bombardier says Reid retired from the post he took in 2008, and Bombardier President and CEO Pierre Beaudoin credits Reid for being a “passionate promoter of Flexjet and fractional jet ownership.”

White, who joined Flexjet in 2005 as director of finance, was promoted to vice president of finance and administration in 2010. Before her time with Flexjet, White spent 15 years with GTE, subsequently joining Genuity, an Internet company spun off from the merger of GET-Bell Atlantic and Verizon.

Beaudoin notes that White “has demonstrated a strong track record of identifying and maximizing opportunities to enable profitability” during her time with Flexjet. Beaudoin also praised her “passion for driving strategic change and implementing business plans that support the organization’s long-term strategies.”

Reid joined Flexjet in August 2008, having a 17-day honeymoon with the company before Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection and the business aviation market plummeted.

Reid worked to make Flexjet a more independent company from Bombardier, with a focus on more transparent financials and the company’s own IT platform. “We’ve done a whole bunch of other stuff where we are not all mushed up inside of the parent,” he had told Aviation Week.

This independence became particularly important as Bombardier began to sell its models to Flexjet rival NetJets – first the long-range Globals, which Flexjet did not plan to fly, and then the Challengers, which were part of the core Flexjet fleet.

But Reid had said, “There was never a hard and fast rule that said Bombardier will only sell its planes in the fractional space ... to Flexjet. Bombardier is first and foremost a manufacturer. It’s not conceivable to me that anyone would expect Bombardier not to respond to any serious bid for aircraft.”

Even so, Flexjet remains an important venue for Bombardier aircraft and is helping launch both of the company’s new Learjet 85 and 70/75 products. Flexjet has had early success with sales of the Learjet 85, and has had plans to take delivery of the first of the aircraft in late 2013 – depending on the certification schedule.

“There’s no question that Flexjet has been a good source of aircraft purchases for Bombardier,” Reid had said. “I am reasonably certain that we’re their biggest customer ever.”