CHANTILLY, VA: Rolls-Royce North America has hired Benet Wilson as senior manager, corporate communications. Wilson will oversee all communications for Rolls' civil aerospace business in North America.
With the aerospace industry suffering through a recession that has hit airlines particularly hard, Wilson said she expects PR efforts to concentrate on Rolls' repair and support services for its engines already in use on planes across the country.
"The decisions to buy new aircrafts are definitely slowing down," she said. "We will emphasize customer care and after-market services. We're still there to support the products that are already out there."
Roughly 40% of Rolls' ?6 billion ($9.5 billion) in annual sales comes from after-market services.
Wilson will work with a six-person communications staff that handles internal and external communications for Rolls in North America. She reports to Mia Walton, VP of corporate communications.
Wilson had been director of corporate communications for Mesa Air Group in Phoenix before accepting the Rolls spot. Prior to that, she'd spent more than a decade as an aviation journalist, most recently with Commuter/Regional Airlines News, a Washington-based newsletter.
"I was very familiar with Rolls, the quality of their work and the company," she said in explaining why she decided to accept the position at Rolls.
Rolls no longer makes Rolls-Royce cars. Those are now being handled by BMW, which recently announced it was hiring Bob Austin as its North American manager of communications for Rolls-Royce autos.