Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier chairman is honoured in New Year's list for industrial efforts


A French-Canadian aerospace boss has picked up an honour for his contribution to industry in Northern Ireland.

Laurent Beaudoin (75), chairman of the board of Bombardier, has been awarded the Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in the New Year's Honours List, for services to British industry "particularly in Northern Ireland".

He has been a director of the company – which has a number of facilities in Northern Ireland making parts for aircraft – since 1975, and took the firm from making snowmobiles to being the world's only manufacturer of both planes and trains.

In 1989, he was in charge when Bombardier acquired the struggling Short Brothers aircraft manufacturing company in Belfast from the UK government.

Since then, with investment of more than £2.1bn, the company's Northern Ireland sites in Belfast, Dunmurry, Newtownards and Newtownabbey, have become an integral part of the world's third largest civil aircraft manufacturer and the firm's aerospace arm now accounts for over half of the company's revenue.

The firm employs just shy of 5,000 people here working on major structures for all of Bombardier's aircraft families.

Some 850 people are currently working on the wings for the new CSeries aircraft at a 600,000sq ft factory in east Belfast.

Mr Beaudoin was born in Laurier Station, Québec, in 1938 and founded two chartered accountancy firms before joining L'Auto-Neige Bombardier in 1963 as comptroller.

He became general manager in 1964, and president and chief executive in 1966.

He oversaw the firm's diversification into rail transportation and aerospace and, in June 2008, Mr Beaudoin handed the reins over to his son Pierre and remained chairman of the board.

Already well decorated, he holds honorary doctorates from a number of universities, including a doctorate in science from Queen's University in Belfast and has armfuls of industry awards.

Belfast Telegraph