Six years ago, Gaël Méheust landed the second launch order for CFM International’s Leap engine, with an order to power 30 Airbus A320 neo aircraft for Scandinavian airline SAS.

And now he’s president and CEO of CFMI, where he took the helm in February.

“I was in charge of sales for half the world,” he tells ShowNews. My counterpart for the other half of the world, who just beat me for the initial launch order (with Virgin America), was Kevin McAllister.” McAllister is now executive vice president of the Boeing Co. and president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“We started very humble,” Méheust notes. “And we lost the first three campaigns,” he recalls

CFMI came to the Paris Air Show that year badly lagging behind Pratt & Whitney, with a score of Pratt geared turbofan orders 500, Leap zero. CFM ended the week with 800 orders on the books.

Today, Méheust is sitting on a backlog of more than 12,300 Leap engines.

“I went from this tough beginning into this big success. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to be the CEO of CFM at this time.”

“Back then, I had to be believed by the customers [in promising a paper engine]. But today, I’m able to come back and see the same customer, as the CEO of the company, and say, ‘We delivered.’”





Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister