Former Cirrus CEO Wouters lands new job

Former Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters, who helped orchestrate the sale of Duluth-based aircraft manufacturer to a Chinese company, has a new job.

Wouters has been hired by IO, a phoenix-based data center provider. His new role as executive vice president of global business development was announced by the company last week.

Wouters joined Cirrus Aircraft in 2002 as executive vice president and chief financial officer. In 2009, he replaced co-founder Alan Klapmeier as CEO. Wouters left the company in September, and Dale Klapmeier, the other co-founder, was named CEO.

Wouters’ new position is a far cry from general aviation but not an unlikely fit for him. Before his 10 years with Cirrus, he was chief financial officer of a computer services organization. In its announcement of Wouters’ hiring, IO cited his solid leadership experience and his success expanding Cirrus to a global market. And that’s what IO wants to do that with its technology.

Wouters’ new position comes eight months after he seemingly left Cirrus abruptly with no explanation given. However, at the time, a Cirrus spokesman said it was not unexpected.

That departure came three months after China Aviation Industry General Aircraft purchased Cirrus. In the months preceding the sale’s completion, Wouters defended the acquisition, insisting the sale would not affect the company’s operations in Duluth nor mean jobs lost to China.