Textron (NYSE: TXT) is an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies industrial conglomerate. Textron includes Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Beechcraft, and other components. It was founded by Royal Little in 1923 as the Special Yarns Company and is now headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. Textron employs over 35,000 people worldwide. Scott C. Donnelly is the current President and Chief Executive Officer.
Textron started as a textile company in 1923, when 22-year-old Royal Little founded the Special Yarns Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts. The company manufactured synthetic yarns, a niche product at the time. By the start of World War II, the company was known as Atlantic Rayon Corporation and manufactured parachutes. As war production wound down, the company started making civilian products as well and was renamed Textron: “Tex" for "textiles", and "tron" from synthetics such as "Lustron". The company was listed on the NYSE in 1947.
Over the next decade and a half, Textron purchased various other manufacturing companies. In 1960, the company also bought Bell Aerospace and E-Z-Go. The textile division was sold to Deering Milliken in 1963.
Later CEOs included G. William Miller (1968–1977), Joseph Collinson (1977–1979), and Robert P. Straetz (1979–1986). In 1984, Textron took on more debt and bought Avco, a conglomerate almost as big as itself. Later on, James Hardymon took over as CEO.
Hardymon brought in Lewis B. Campbell, who became CEO in 1998. Starting in 2000, Campbell led a company-wide restructuring program. The share price fell to as low as $13/share in March 2003 after the economic downturn following the collapse of Internet companies and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Diminished demand for helicopters and airplanes led to layoffs at Cessna and Bell Helicopter. In 2004, Forbes magazine named Campbell as the fifth worst-performing CEO in the country.
Scott C. Donnelly became CEO in December 2009.
Textron acquired Mechtronix in Montreal, Quebec, and OPINICUS in Tampa, Florida, in 2013. Donnelly combined these flight simulation companies, along with Textron’s AAI Logistics & Technical Services, to form TRU Simulation & Training in 2014.
On December 26, 2013, Textron agreed to purchase Beechcraft, including the discontinued Hawker jet line, for $1.4 billion. The sale was expected to be concluded in the first half of 2014. The company formed a new company called Textron Aviation to market the products of Beechcraft, Cessna, and Hawker as individual brands.
Able Aerospace Services is an international business and $70 million aerospace enterprise that is performing more than 8,000 proprietary FAA-approved repairs on aircraft and components.
On March 6, 2017, Textron bought out Arctic Cat for US$247M. Arctic Cat is a manufacturer of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and side-by-sides. Textron will operate Arctic Cat as a subsidiary of Textron Specialized Vehicles.
Bell Helicopter is an American helicopter and rotorcraft manufacturer headquartered in Hurst, Texas, near Fort Worth.
E-Z-GO is a designer and manufacturer of light transportation vehicles for golf courses and for other uses. Products include electric and internal combustion golf carts and multipurpose utility vehicles under the E-Z-Go, Cushman, and Bad Boy Buggy brands.
Greenlee Textron is an industrial and electrical tool company headquartered in Rockford, Illinois. It was founded in 1862 by brothers Robert and Ralph Greenlee to manufacture their invention, a drill surrounded by four chisel blades, used in making the pockets for a mortise and tenon joint for the furniture industry in Rockford. This device is still used in cabinetmaking. The brothers later diversified into a variety of hand woodworking tools as well as machinery for making wooden barrels. The company was acquired by Textron in 1986. Greenlee today produces various wire and cable installation tools that are used in a variety of fields.
Textron purchased Jacobsen Manufacturing around 1975 and continued to produce Jacobsen garden tractors into the 1990s. Today, Jacobsen sells various products used for turf care: maintenance equipment, vehicles, and other products.
Kautex Textron is a supplier to the automotive industry. The company produces plastic fuel systems, selective catalytic reduction systems, windshield and headlamp washer systems, and other products.
Textron AirLand, LLC is a joint venture between Textron Inc. and AirLand Enterprises, LLC that is currently developing the Textron AirLand Scorpion aircraft as a private venture.
Textron Aviation is a new venture formed in March 2014 from Beechcraft and Cessna, retaining the Beechcraft, Cessna, and Hawker aircraft type names as brands.
Textron Systems is an aerospace and defense development and manufacturing firm headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. The company reported 2012 annual sales in the Textron Systems segment as $1.7 billion.
Its operating units are:
Textron bought and acquired AAI Corporation in 2007, which has now evolved into the Support Solutions, Electronic Systems and Unmanned Systems business units mentioned above. AAI Corporation has developed and fielded products such as the RQ-7B Shadow UAV and various ground control technologies such as the One System Ground Control Station (OSGCS) and the Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS).