Succeeding the CEO and founder of a company is a daunting task for anyone — there are high expectations, to say the least. But when Charles Kaman, founder of Kaman Aircraft Co., retired at the turn of the century, Paul Kuhn stepped up to the challenge. Kuhn died on Sept. 17 at age 74, but the impact he had on Kaman remains.
“He had the unenviable task of succeeding Mr. Kaman after his 55 years as CEO,” said Kaman’s current chairman, president and CEO, Neal Keating. “Paul led a fundamental transformation of our company and retired with the company positioned to benefit from strong positive momentum.”
Kuhn retired from Kaman in 2008, but not before he recapitalized the company from a dual-class stock structure, sold the music segment, developed a strong leadership team and acquired the Joint Programmable Fuze program — the largest single program Kaman has — among other accomplishments. The fuze allows the settings of a weapon to be programmed while in flight.
Add to that list acquiring the aerospace bearing manufacturing company RWG business in Germany, and it’s clear that Kuhn paid attention to both the Aerospace Group and the Distribution Group. With a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in business administration, Kuhn was an aerospace professional with the know-how to run a business.
Prior to Kaman, he was the SVP of operations in Aerospace Engine Business for Coltec Industries. Before that, he held senior positions at Chandler Evans and General Electric.
A celebration of life was held in his honor on Sept. 25 in Connecticut.