Ryan Both is a man on a mission and a man with the right aviation stuff.
Recently appointed chief executive of Cobham in Australia, Mr Both, 37, is one of the youngest to take on such a role and brings a new generation of thinking and innovation to aviation in Australia.
While young for the role, Mr Both has virtually decades of experience being tutored by aviation heavyweights such as recently retired Hugh Davin and spending time at Harvard University and the London Business School.
His most recent appointment was senior vice-president commercial at Melbourne Airport and before that he served as head of mining and resource sales at Virgin Australia.
The return to Cobham, a near- $400 million company, is a return to the fold where he learnt his 101 of aviation from 2004 to 2011.
Cobham is the biggest provider of contract aviation services in Australia and one of the country’s biggest aviation groups.
It is a national business with bases and offices in every mainland capital and many regional centres with 1300 staff and more than 40 aircraft.
Cobham plays a critical role in Australia’s aviation industry, operating express air freight services, patrolling national borders, search and rescue, FIFO flights and operating 20 Boeing 717s for Qantas.
High on Mr Both’s agenda is diversity and change.
“As Cobham’s new Australian chief executive, I intend to champion diversity and encourage meaningful change in our industry,” he said. “When effectively fostered and managed, diversity is proven to enhance the quality of decision-making and organisational effectiveness.
“I am committed to removing cultural barriers, adopting a capability-based approach to nurture the potential of our people and to position Cobham as one of the aviation industry’s most desirable employers.”
Cobham’s story in Australia has been mostly underplayed, with the company shunning the limelight.
Some say this has hampered opportunities.
But that is quickly changing with Mr Both keen to “unlock the potential of this large and diverse group”.
And one of the biggest components of the group is in WA.
The State is home to 336 staff and 17 aircraft, including five Boeing 717s. The group has an extensive in-house engineering capability that supports the fleet locally in Australia, which enables it to deliver turn-key customised special mission solutions with highly modified aircraft.
Cobham has also partnered with General Atomics as a founding member of Team Reaper Australia to meet Australia’s future unmanned mission requirements.
Blue skies beckon.
This article, written by Geoffrey Thomas, first appeared in The West Australian, “Cobham chief Ryan Both eyes blue sky aviation”.