Priester Aviation is continuing its history of family-led leadership by announcing the ascension of its next generation of ownership. The private aviation company has announced that Andy Priester, president and CEO, will become its chairman, taking over from Charlie Priester, who remains with Priester Aviation as chairman emeritus.
In taking up the mantle of chairman, Andy Priester will be third generation to steward the legacy of the company his grandfather, George, founded in 1945. Charlie had led the on-demand charter, management and aviation consulting company since the 1980s.
“For more than 75 years, the Priester name has meant so much to aviation and the people with whom we’ve built strong relationships and served,” says Andy Priester. “So much of that credit goes to Charlie, who took the company to new heights over the past 40 years. His vision and connections within the industry and to people have been invaluable to our success. I’m honoured to take that legacy and expand our vision to serve the needs of our clients for tomorrow’s challenges. While our team, operations and services have grown, we remain dedicated to serving as trusted partners for our customers.”
Under Andy Priester, the company plans to continue its commitment to maximising stakeholder value by growing the company organically and through strategic acquisition of culturally aligned private jet operators.
He became president and CEO in 2013 and is a graduate of the University of Dayton and Concordia University. Under his tenure at Priester Aviation, the company’s fleet has grown from seven aircraft to nearly 70 today.
Priester Aviation, headquartered in Chicago, serves clients in the US and globally from operating bases throughout the world. It operates a fleet of world-class aircraft and works with industry partners coast-to-coast. In the past three years it has expanded operations and capacity, building its team up and introducing its Centerline Jet Card programme.
Andy Priester continues: “We had a really successful 2020 and that has rolled over into 2021. We have looked to continue our organic growth, both on the management side and the charter side. We are actively looking for potential acquisition and partnership opportunities. We are looking for culturally aligned people who might be looking to make a transition. It’s not a case of simply buying fleets; we are really looking for that cultural alignment, so that we can work long term with another group of great people. This has been a shift for us going forward, and we are excited about it.
“This year we have added to our mission vision values and really focused on relationships, with team members especially. We have a summit coming up that involves our entire team. This will include an update on the company, an update on what is happening out there in the industry, and how the industry is shifting and pivoting. We want to develop camaraderie and get people closer together, and this will aid us as we search for partnerships.”