- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) - United Technologies is shuffling the leadership at Sikorsky Aircraft, less than a month after announcing it may spin off the helicopter-making subsidiary.

UTC on Thursday appointed Robert Leduc as president of Sikorsky, moving predecessor Mick Maurer to the newly created role of UTC senior vice president of strategic projects.

Sikorsky manufactures the Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters for the military, the president’s Marine One and commercial helicopters.

Leduc, 59, had retired in 2014 after a 35-year career at UTC, where he served in several leadership positions, heading up the large commercial engines business at jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney, as well as the Boeing programs and the space systems business at Hamilton Sundstrand.

“Across the aerospace industry, Bob is recognized as a proven leader, and he has the vision and experience necessary to lead Sikorsky today and as its future chief executive officer, should Sikorsky be spun off,” Gregory Hayes, UTC’s president and chief executive officer said in a release.

Maurer’s new job will include providing UTC with a “unique perspective and insight as we complete our strategic review and determine the best way to enhance Sikorsky’s long-term success and create improved value for UTC’s customers and shareholders,” Hayes said.

Sikorsky has a sizable stake in military sales with its workhorse Black Hawk, but the U.S. drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq have had a financial impact.

Revenue of $7.45 billion last year was up 19 percent from 2013, but operating profit fell and Sikorsky’s profit margin was the smallest of United Technologies’ segments.

Sikorsky has about 8,000 employees at its Stratford headquarters and plant. The company dates back to 1929 when founder Igor Sikorsky purchased land in Stratford.

Shares of United Technologies rose $1.32, or 1.1 percent, to $117.24 in afternoon trading. Its shares are down more than 2 percent over the past year.

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