Bristow Group and Era Group Announce New Executive Leadership Team for Combined Company

  • Structure and leadership team designed to support efficient, nimble local operations underpinned by global standards of excellence
  • Executive Leadership Team led by industry veterans with proven track record of capital discipline, protecting shareholder value and generating free cash flow through industry cycles
  • Leadership team poised to build upon common culture with strong foundation of safety, service, trust and teamwork
  • Combination expected to close mid–June 2020

HOUSTON, May 12, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bristow Group and Era Group (NYSE:ERA) today announced the new global organization structure and the selection of the executive leadership team that will help create a financially stronger industry leader in offshore helicopter transportation and search and rescue services. The structure and executive appointments will be effective upon the close of the transaction and approval by the Board of Directors, currently scheduled for mid–June 2020.

"This new organizational structure and executive team will help position the combined Company to navigate market challenges while better serving our customers with more efficient operations," said Chris Bradshaw, President and CEO of Era and who will lead the new combined Company. "I look forward to working with some of the most talented and experienced leaders in our industry. Together, we will foster a common culture built on a powerful foundation of unmatched safety, service, trust and teamwork, ready to begin a new chapter in innovative and efficient global helicopter services."

Once the transaction closes, the combined Company will be organized as a global team enabling strong, efficient and nimble local operations. The structure enables enhanced collaboration creating world–class operational excellence at the local level through global standards of excellence and financial accountability.

Under this new structure, the executive leadership team will include:

Chris Bradshaw, currently serving as President and Chief Executive Officer for Era, will become the President and CEO for the combined Company, which will maintain the Bristow name.

David Stepanek will become Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer for the combined Company. In this role, Stepanek will have responsibility for global operations through each of the area managers including flight operations, maintenance, service delivery, supply chain management, training and information technology.

Alan Corbett will continue to lead as Senior Vice President, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia and SAR. Corbett will remain responsible for overseeing Bristow operations in Australia, Nigeria, Norway and the U.K. as well as Bristow's UK Search and Rescue operations.

Operations under Stepanek and Corbett will be supported by a strong global functional organization led by the following executives:

Stuart Stavley, currently serving as Era Group Senior Vice President, Operations and Fleet Management, will become Senior Vice President, Global Fleet Management responsible for standardized maintenance programs, aircraft specifications and lease agreements, as well as all original equipment manufacturer relationships, quality control of global supply chain operations and aircraft acquisitions and sales.

Samantha Willenbacher will become Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer; she is currently the Vice President of Global Commercial Strategy for Bristow Group. In her new role, Willenbacher will be responsible for all customer–facing aspects of the business, bid proposals and market research and analysis.

Jennifer Whalen, currently Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer for Era Group, will be Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer on an interim basis until the permanent Chief Financial Officer is named at a future date. The CFO role is responsible for Company accounting, financial reporting, investor relations, strategy and M&A, tax and other financial aspects of the Company.

Crystal Gordon will become Senior Vice President, General Counsel for the combined Company. She is currently serving as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer for Era Group. Gordon will be responsible for legal, compliance, collective bargaining agreements, government relations and contract review and management.

Mary Wersebe, currently serving as Vice President, Human Resources for Bristow Group, will become Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer. Wersebe will be responsible for human resources, benefits and compensation, communications and corporate social responsibility.

James Stottlemyer will become Vice President, Health, Safety and Environment. He is currently serving as Director, Safety Americas and Global Safety Performance for Bristow Group. Stottlemyer will be responsible for safety management systems, health and environment.

The combination remains subject to satisfaction of the remaining closing conditions, including approval by Bristow and Era shareholders and other customary conditions.

Bristow is the world's leading provider of offshore oil and gas transportation, search and rescue (SAR) and aircraft support services to government and civil organizations worldwide. Bristow's strategically located global fleet supports operations in the North Sea, Nigeria and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico; as well as in most of the other major offshore oil and gas producing regions of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Guyana and Trinidad. Bristow provides SAR services to the private sector worldwide and to the public sector for all of the United Kingdom on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. To learn more, visit our website at

Era is one of the largest helicopter operators in the world and the longest serving helicopter transport operator in the U.S. In addition to servicing its U.S. customers, Era provides helicopters and related services to customers and third–party helicopter operators in other countries, including Brazil, Colombia, India, Mexico, Spain, and Suriname. Era's helicopters are primarily used to transport personnel to, from and between offshore oil and gas production platforms, drilling rigs and other installations. In addition, Era's helicopters are used to perform emergency response services, firefighting, utility, VIP transport and other services. Era also provides a variety of operating lease solutions and technical fleet support to third party operators. To learn more, visit our website at

Additional Information and Where to Find It

In connection with the proposed merger with Bristow Group Inc. ("Bristow"), on April 3, 2020, Era filed with the SEC a preliminary registration statement on Form S–4, as amended by Amendment No. 1 thereto filed on April 23, 2020 (the "Registration Statement"), which became effective May 5, 2020. On May 6, 2020, Era filed with the SEC a final prospectus pursuant to Rule 424(b)(3) that included the final joint proxy and consent solicitation statement of Era and Bristow that also constitutes a final prospectus of Era (the "Final Joint Proxy and Consent Statement/Prospectus"). Each of Era and Bristow will provide, when it is available, the definitive joint proxy and consent statement/prospectus to their respective stockholders. Era and Bristow also plan to file other relevant documents with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction. This document is not a substitute for the Final Joint Proxy and Consent Statement/Prospectus, the registration statement or the definitive joint proxy and consent statement/prospectus or any other document which Era or Bristow may file with the SEC in connection with the proposed transaction. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE FINAL JOINT PROXY AND CONSENT STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS (INCLUDING ALL AMENDMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTS THERETO) AND OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN AND WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION, THE PARTIES TO THE TRANSACTION AND THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE TRANSACTION. You may obtain a copy of the Final Joint Proxy and Consent Statement/Prospectus, the Registration Statement and other relevant documents filed by Era and Bristow without charge at the SEC's website,, or by directing a request when such a filing is made to (1) Era by mail at 945 Bunker Hill Rd., Suite 650, Houston, Texas 77024, Attention: Investor Relations, by telephone at (713)–369–4700, or by going to the Investor page on Era's corporate website at; or (2) Bristow by mail at 3151 Briarpark Drive, Suite 700, Houston, Texas, 77042, Attention: Investor Relations, by telephone at (713) 267–7600, or by going to the Investors page on Bristow's corporate website at

Participants in Proxy Solicitation

Era, Bristow and certain of their respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Era and Bristow stockholders in respect of the proposed transaction under the rules of the SEC. You may obtain information regarding the names, affiliations and interests of Era's directors and executive officers in Era's Annual Report on Form 10–K for the year ended December 31, 2019, which was filed with the SEC on March 6, 2020 and its Final Joint Proxy and Consent Statement/Prospectus. Investors may obtain information regarding the names, affiliations and interests of Bristow's directors and executive officers on Bristow's website. Other information regarding the participants in the proxy solicitation and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, are contained in the Final Joint Proxy and Consent Statement/Prospectus filed with the SEC and the definitive joint proxy and consent statement/prospectus and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction if and when they become available. Investors should read the Final Joint Proxy and Consent Statement/Prospectus and the definitive joint proxy and consent statement/prospectus (when it is available) carefully and in its entirety before making any voting or investment decisions.

No Offer or Solicitation

This communication does not constitute an offer to buy or solicitation of an offer to sell any securities or an invitation to purchase or subscribe for any securities or the solicitation of any vote in any jurisdiction pursuant to the proposed transaction or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. Subject to certain exceptions to be approved by the relevant regulators or certain facts to be ascertained, the public offer will not be made directly or indirectly, in or into any jurisdiction where to do so would constitute a violation of the laws of such jurisdiction, or by use of the mails or by any means or instrumentality (including facsimile transmission, telephone and the internet) of interstate or foreign commerce, or any facility of a national securities exchange, of any such jurisdiction.

For additional information concerning Era Group, contact Jennifer Whalen at (713) 369–4636 or visit Era Group's website at

Forward–Looking Statements

Certain statements discussed in this release as well as in other reports, materials and oral statements that Era releases from time to time to the public include “forward–looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such forward–looking statements concerning management's expectations, strategic objectives, business prospects, anticipated performance and financial condition and other similar matters involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause Era's actual results, performance or achievements of results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements discussed or implied by such forward–looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and other important factors include, among others, risks related to Era's recently announced combination with Bristow, including: the ability of Bristow and Era to obtain necessary shareholder approvals, the ability to satisfy all necessary conditions on the anticipated closing timeline or at all, the outcome of any legal proceedings, regulatory proceedings or enforcement matters that may be instituted relating to the Merger, conditions imposed in order to obtain required regulatory approvals for the Merger, the costs incurred to consummate the Merger, the possibility that the expected synergies from the Merger will not be realized, difficulties related to the integration of the two companies, disruption from the anticipated Merger making it more difficult to maintain relationships with customers, employees, regulators or suppliers, and the diversion of management time and attention to the anticipated combination; Era's dependence on, and the cyclical and volatile nature of, offshore oil and gas exploration, development and production activity, and the impact of COVID–19 and general economic conditions and fluctuations in worldwide prices of and demand for oil and natural gas on such activity levels, including instances of below–zero prices in oil futures and concerns of an excess of oil supply for a sustained period and limitations of storage capacity for such excess oil supply; Era's reliance on a limited number of customers and the reduction of its customer base resulting from bankruptcies or consolidation; risks that Era's customers reduce or cancel contracted services or tender processes or obtain comparable services through other forms of transportation; dependence on United States ("U.S.") government agency contracts that are subject to budget appropriations; cost savings initiatives implemented by Era's customers; risks inherent in operating helicopters; Era's ability to maintain an acceptable safety record and level of reliability; the impact of increased U.S. and foreign government regulation and legislation, including potential government implemented moratoriums on drilling activities; the impact of a grounding of all or a portion of Era's fleet for extended periods of time or indefinitely on Era's business, including its operations and ability to service customers, results of operations or financial condition and/or the market value of the affected helicopter(s); Era's ability to successfully expand into other geographic and aviation service markets; risks associated with political instability, governmental action, war, acts of terrorism, trade policies and changes in the economic condition in any foreign country where Era does business, which may result in expropriation, nationalization, confiscation or deprivation of Era's assets or result in claims of a force majeure situation; the impact of declines in the global economy and financial markets; the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates on Era's asset values and cost to purchase helicopters, spare parts and related services; risks related to investing in new lines of aviation service without realizing the expected benefits; risks of engaging in competitive processes or expending significant resources for strategic opportunities, with no guaranty of recoupment; Era's reliance on a small number of helicopter manufacturers and suppliers; Era's ongoing need to replace aging helicopters; Era's reliance on the secondary helicopter market to dispose of used helicopters and parts; Era's reliance on information technology and potential harm from cyber–security incidents; the impact of allocation of risk between Era and its customers; the liability, legal fees and costs in connection with providing emergency response services; adverse weather conditions and seasonality; risks associated with Era's debt structure; Era's counterparty credit risk exposure; the impact of operational and financial difficulties of Era's joint ventures and partners and the risks associated with identifying and securing joint venture partners when needed; conflict with the other owners of Era's non–wholly owned subsidiaries and other equity investees; adverse results of legal proceedings; significant increases in fuel costs; Era's ability to obtain insurance coverage and the adequacy and availability of such coverage; the possibility of labor problems; the attraction and retention of qualified personnel; restrictions on the amount of foreign ownership of Era's common stock; and various other matters and factors, many of which are beyond Era's control. In addition, these statements constitute Era Group's cautionary statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. It is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, the foregoing should not be considered a complete discussion of all potential risks or uncertainties. The words “estimate,” “project,” “intend,” “believe,” “plan” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward–looking statements. Forward–looking statements speak only as of the date of the document in which they are made. Era Group disclaims any obligation or undertaking to provide any updates or revisions to any forward–looking statement to reflect any change in Era Group's expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which the forward–looking statement is based. The forward–looking statements in this release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Era's businesses, particularly those mentioned under “Risk Factors” in Era Group's Annual Report on Form 10–K for the year ended December 31, 2019, in the Final Joint Proxy and Consent Statement/Prospectus, and in Era Group's current reporting on Form 8–K (if any). This press release reflects the views of Era's management as of the date hereof. Except to the extent required by applicable law, Era undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward–looking statement.

News Media
Bristow Group Inc.
Adam Morgan
+1 281.253.9005

Era Group Inc.
Jennifer Whalen
+1 713.369.4636

US Pulls the Plug on a UN Global Cease-Fire Resolution

Secretary-General António Guterres holds a virtual press conference to promote a report on his call for a global cease-fire during the Covid-19 outbreak, April 3, 2020. A Security Council draft resolution supporting his call was knocked down by the US on May 8, facing a low chance for revival. Credit: LOEY FELIPE/UN PHOTO

By Dali ten Hove, PassBlue*
UNITED NATIONS, May 12 2020 – After six weeks of negotiations, the United States shot down hopes for a resolution to be approved in the United Nations Security Council on May 8, refusing to back worldwide cease-fires as the US continues to castigate China and the World Health Organization for the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, momentum behind tenuous cease-fires is vanishing, experts say.

The long-awaited moment for the Council to approve a resolution supporting the UN secretary-general’s March 23 call to pause fighting in war zones during the coronavirus crisis may be gone for now.

The resolution had come close to getting through, it seemed, by Thursday night, May 7, according to some diplomats. France and Tunisia had circulated a redraft of the resolution, obtained by PassBlue, with compromise language about the WHO.

The new formulation expressed support for “all relevant entities of the United Nations system, including specialized health agencies,” in obvious reference to the WHO without naming it. The organization is the UN’s only specialized health agency.

France brandished its diplomatic skills as a permanent Council member to get the draft put under silence procedure — a span of time allowing parties to object — until 2 P.M. Friday, Eastern Daylight Time.

Hopes were high among most Council members that the resolution would see the light of day by the deadline, especially because on Friday the Council was holding an enormous meeting, albeit online, with an array of high-level government officials to commemorate the end of World War II in Europe.

The latest draft resolution — it has gone through numerous iterations — had overcome many obstacles laid by the US and China. Estonia was the first Council member to submit a draft resolution on the pandemic in early March but was swatted down mainly by China for including human-rights references, one diplomat said.

Then, a French-led draft was circulated, focusing on the global cease-fire; it was eventually merged with one led by Tunisia. That version, with more changes, was the one put under silence procedure late last week.

Around noon on Friday, May 8, silence was broken, even though several diplomats told PassBlue that senior US officials had shown signs the night before that the US was on board. But on Friday, Russia also said it needed more time to consider the draft; as one diplomat put it, Russia woke up and had to insert itself into the process.

In rejecting the draft, the US State Department said that the Security Council should either proceed with a resolution limited to support for a cease-fire or a broadened resolution “that fully addresses the need for renewed member state commitment to transparency and accountability in the context of Covid-19.”

Back on March 23, as the world came to grips with the gravity of the spreading coronavirus, UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed to warring parties to observe cease-fires to help fight the coronavirus by ensuring that humanitarian aid supplies could get through conflict zones. “The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly,” he said. “That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire.”

Widely viewed at first as noble but impractical, the appeal nonetheless received the backing of governments, civil society and armed groups globally. “I was surprised by the initial success of the call,” said Richard Gowan, the UN director for the International Crisis Group, a think tank in New York.

He said he “was inclined to view it a little skeptically in late March, but a significant number of armed groups did respond positively. I think Guterres may have had a greater impact than he first expected.”

The UN says 16 conflict parties in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and East Asia have declared unilateral pauses in fighting since Guterres’s appeal. This has notably included a cease-fire by Saudi Arabia in its war with the Houthi insurgents in Yemen.

Nevertheless, the Houthis have not agreed to a pause, and the Saudis have been bombing Yemen during an extended cease-fire they agreed to weeks ago.

According to the Yemen Data Project, the Saudi-led coalition has carried out at least 83 air raids with up to 356 individual strikes from April 9 to April 30, the most recent information available.

Despite the early success of Guterres’s appeal, the Security Council has so far not endorsed it and remains virtually silent on Covid-19, except for issuing “press elements” — the weakest formal response the Council can offer publicly — when it met in a closed virtual session on April 9.

The statement that emerged from that meeting said that the Council members “expressed their support for all efforts of the Secretary-General concerning the potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic to conflict-affected countries and recalled the need for unity and solidarity with all those affected.”

“I’m afraid that momentum is now dissipating,” Gowan said about Guterres’s appeal, as several other cease-fires declared in its wake have since broken down, including one announced in Colombia by the ELN militia, or, in English, the National Liberation Army.

“I think that a Security Council resolution supporting the call in late March or early April would have been very positive,” Gowan added. “Sadly, the Council has waited too long.”

The US, a veto-wielding member, has strongly objected to any expression of support for the WHO in all versions of the Council draft resolution.

The draft by France and Tunisia backing the cease-fire appeal, circulated on April 21, said in notes, “compromise related to the language on WHO to be decided at the end of the negotiation.”

China had insisted on a clause commending the organization for its efforts against the pandemic, while the US, which has suspended its funding of it, refused to agree to a reference to the agency.

The Trump administration also pressed for addressing the origins of the new coronavirus to embarrass China, demanding that it be named the “Wuhan virus” in reference to the Chinese province where Covid-19 is believed to have originated.

The call for countries’ obligations to be transparent was also a demand by the US, directly challenging China. Other requirements — including lifting sanctions, by Russia and others, and exemptions of combat pertaining to counterterrorism, by the US and Russia — were also overcome, according to diplomats.

The Trump administration’s denunciations of China and the WHO are widely viewed as distractions from its own sluggish response to Covid-19, as recent polling in the US finds that more Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

China’s posturing in favor of the WHO may in turn be meant to embarrass the US, Gowan said, and compensate for China’s mishandling of the coronavirus when it emerged.

“The relationship between Washington and Beijing has grown worse and worse recently,” said Jeremy Greenstock, a former British ambassador to the UN, who spoke with PassBlue from Oxfordshire, England. “It’s pathetic, really, that they are scrapping like this when they need to be cooperating.”

At a press conference on April 30, Guterres expressed disappointment about Security Council infighting in the middle of a deadly pandemic. “The relation between the major powers in the world today is very dysfunctional,” he said. “It is obvious that there is a lack of leadership.”

As Gowan said: “What’s depressing about this is that basically everyone would sign onto the cease-fire. It’s being held hostage by this WHO issue, which is sort of pathetic.”

*PassBlue is an independent, women-led journalism site that is considered the most influential media source covering the US-UN relationship, women’s issues, human rights, peacekeeping and other urgent global matters playing out in the UN. As a nonprofit news site, PassBlue is a project of the New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and 100+ individuals and a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News.