C. Jeffrey (Jeff) Knittel is the Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas, Inc. In addition, he is the Head of Region for the Americas and as such reports directly to the Airbus CEO. He is responsible for Airbus’ commercial aircraft business throughout the Americas, as well as for providing leadership for the company’s market leading helicopter business and its space and defense unit in North America.
Additionally, Knittel chairs A3 by Airbus, the company’s Silicon Valley-based innovation arm; is a board member of Airbus Ventures, which scouts and invests in early stage technologies across the globe; and a member of the Airbus Canada Limited Partnership Board – a multibillion dollar joint venture of Airbus, Bombardier, and the Province of Quebec to procure parts, assemble, and market the world’s most modern commercial aircraft, the A220.
With more than 5,000 employees, Airbus Americas encompasses the regional corporate offices, engineering and innovation centers, training facilities, MROs and spare parts distribution centers, imagery and drone services, as well as large scale manufacturing facilities producing commercial aircraft, helicopters, and satellites.
Knittel has more than 35 years of experience in aerospace and transportation finance. Before joining Airbus, Knittel was Chief Executive Officer of C2 Aviation Capital (C2), a global leasing company focused on acquiring, leasing and managing commercial aircraft. Prior to leading C2 Aviation Capital, Mr. Knittel served since 1986 in a series of senior leadership positions at CIT Group Inc. – most recently as President of CIT Transportation Finance, a $21 billion diversified organization that provided leasing and financing solutions for the aerospace, rail and maritime industries, including commercial airlines, business aircraft operators, railroads and shippers.
Knittel is currently a member of the Board of the National Air and Space Museum, the Board and Chair of the Finance Committee of the USO of Metropolitan New York, the Board of Trustees of the National World War II Museum, and a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the Atlantic Council. He is a former President and an emeritus member of the Board of Governors of the Wings Club. He is a former Chairman of the Board of Just One Break, a not-for-profit institution founded by Eleanor Roosevelt for the disabled and later merged with The Viscardi Center.
Mr. Knittel holds a bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In addition, he graduated from the Advanced Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.