Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions Announces New Board of Directors

Arlington, Va. — Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions (CAES), a leading provider of differentiated RF and high-reliability space power & computing solutions, today announced a newly comprised Board of Directors. Following its acquisition by Advent International (Advent), one of the largest and most experienced global private equity firms, CAES has adopted a US-centric ownership structure that better positions it to support sensitive government programs and provides for increased flexibility and agility in pursuing its core markets. 

“I am pleased to welcome the new board to CAES,” said Shawn Black, CEO of Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions. “With a rich background in military and government leadership, cutting edge aerospace and defense technology, industrial manufacturing, and financial innovation, this team brings a strong combination of skills and experience to guide CAES to the next phase of its evolution. With their support, CAES is well positioned to undertake transformative operational and growth strategies, including technology investments and acquisitions, in our core markets of electronic warfare, radar, missile and space technologies,” he continued.

Members of the newly comprised Board of Directors include: Robert F Weiss, Mark Sirangelo, Gen. Kevin Chilton (Ret.), Bob Hitt, Shawn Black, Mark Santamaria, Shonnel Malani, Michael Marshall, and Wayne Berman. 

Robert F. Weiss is a member of the Board of Advisors to Hermeus Corporation, a hypersonics startup and Alpine Advanced Materials, LLC, a developer of custom engineered parts and components utilizing nanocomposite technology. Previously, Robert served in various leadership capacities at Lockheed Martin, including as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Advanced Development Programs (aka the Skunk Works®). Prior to joining Lockheed Martin in 1985, Weiss served eight years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, and an additional 16 years in the Naval Reserve, retiring in 2000 with the rank of captain.

Mark N. Sirangelo is the Entrepreneur Scholar in Residence at the University of Colorado. He was formerly the Executive Vice President of the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and head of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems, one of the country’s top space technology companies which has participated in over 300 space missions, including over 30 planetary missions and is the builder of the next generation space shuttle, Dream Chaser. Mr. Sirangelo was formerly the Chairman and CEO of SpaceDev, Inc., prior to its merging with SNC and has spent his career building and leading aeronautics, space and technology companies.

Gen. Kevin P. Chilton (Ret.) served as a test pilot and astronaut over his career in the Air Force, having commanded the STS-76, his third Space Shuttle mission and served as the Deputy Program Manager for Operations for the International Space Station Program.  Gen. Chilton concluded his Air Force career as Commander, U.S. Strategic Command. He is a trustee of the Air Force Academy Falcon Foundation, a member of the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories Board of Governors and a member of the Sandia National Laboratory Board of Managers. Gen. Chilton served as an independent consultant and director for Level 3 Communications, Orbital ATK, the Aerospace Corp., Anadarko Petroleum Corp., and Schafer Corp. 

Bob Hitt serves as Chairman of Advent portfolio company Laird, a global engineering technology company providing solutions for electromagnetic integrity, thermal performance and connectivity. He is the former Chairman of Ammeraal Beltech, which was successfully sold by Advent in early 2018. Prior to his chairmanships, Bob was President and CEO of Rexnord Industries which he grew to $1.85 billion sales under the ownership of first Carlyle and then Apollo. He was previously the President of Invensys Climate Controls and then the divisional CEO of Invensys Automation Systems.

Shawn Black serves as the CEO of CAES. He joined the company in November 2018 as Chief Operating Officer, and was named to the CEO role in January 2020. Before joining CAES, Shawn spent 15+ years at Leonardo DRS in a variety of senior P&L and Strategy/BD leadership roles across several leading-edge A&D technology sectors. His most recent role was the VP/GM of the Electro-Optical & Infrared Systems (EOIS) business. Prior to Shawn’s tenure at Leonardo DRS, he served as a Consultant at Arthur Andersen and Perot Systems, and also served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

Mark Santamaria serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions. In this role, Mark is responsible for all financial aspects of the sector including the contracts, compliance, and legal organization. Prior to joining CAES, Mark was the Chief Financial Officer at Mission Essential, a defense contractor primarily serving intelligence and military clients. Prior to Mission Essential, Mark was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of AM General LLC, a defense automotive manufacturer. He additionally served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at The SI Organization, and also enjoyed a 24 year career at Lockheed Martin.

Shonnel Malani serves as Chairman of the Board of Cobham Ltd and is a Managing Director at Advent International. He joined Advent in 2011 and focuses on buyouts in the industrial sector. Shonnel has been a private equity investor since 2004, working primarily on large and mid-cap buyouts at Bain Capital and Centerbridge Partners, prior to joining Advent. Shonnel began his career as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley. Shonnel earned his BCom from McGill University, an MBA from The Wharton School and a MPA from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Marshall is a Director at Advent International and focuses on investments in the Industrial sector. He joined Advent in 2012 from Bain & Company where he worked in their private equity practice. Prior to Bain, he started his career as a corporate lawyer. Michael holds a BA with First Class honours in Politics, Philosophy & Economics from Oxford University.

Wayne Berman is Senior Managing Director and Head of Global Government Affairs for the Blackstone Group Inc. He manages political and legislative risk for the firm and its portfolio companies, overseeing a global team of political risk specialists. Before joining Blackstone, Mr. Berman was Vice Chairman of Ogilvy and Mather. Previously, Mr. Berman served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce, appointed by former President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Mr. Berman’s political experience includes a variety of positions in nine Presidential campaigns. In addition, Mr. Berman has had an extensive career in the insurance brokerage business. He was Senior Advisor to AON; Vice Chairman of Jardine Lloyd Thompson, and Co-founder of Lane McVicker, a U.S.-based personal property broker.

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