Esterline Technologies
Company typeSubsidiary
FoundedIndianapolis, Indiana, 1906
FounderJohn Esterline
Number of locations
Over 50 locations
Area served
Key people
Curtis Reusser, CEO
Revenue$2.035 billion (2018)[1]
$2.035 billion (2017)[1]
Number of employees
Over 12,000
ParentTransDigm Group
DivisionsAvionics & Controls
Sensors & Systems
Advanced Materials

Esterline Technologies Corporation was a publicly traded company that designs, manufactures, and markets specialty products primarily for aerospace and defense customers.[2][3] The company is best known as a supplier of products and equipment for aerospace companies such as Boeing and Airbus;[4][5] and for American and allied military forces.[6][7][8][9]

Esterline is based in Bellevue, Washington.[3] Curtis Reusser serves as company chairman, president, and CEO.[3]

On March 14, 2019, TransDigm successfully completed the acquisition of Esterline Technologies Corporation (formerly NYSE:ESL).[10]


Early history

Esterline was founded in 1906 by John Esterline, an electrical engineer and former head of the electrical engineering department at Purdue University.[11][12] Esterline originally made magnets and recording devices.[13] The company was renamed the Esterline-Angus Company when Esterline began working with Donald J. Angus.[12][14]

Esterline-Angus merged with Boyar-Schultz, Inc., a manufacturer of surface grinding materials, in 1967.[6] The newly merged company was renamed Esterline Corporation.[6] Esterline went public in 1968.[7] Later that year, the company entered the aerospace and defense sectors with its acquisition of Babcock Electronics.[6]

The company began acquiring medical supply and equipment companies in 1969.[6] By the early 1970s, the company held businesses specializing in ophthalmic goods and hearing aids.[6] The company had sold the majority of its healthcare businesses and subsidiaries by 1978 when Esterline sold its hearing aid manufacturing business.[6] After exiting the healthcare sector, Esterline had acquired 20 additional companies by 1986.[7]

Aerospace and defense

In 1987, after releasing poor financial reports, the Esterline board dismissed the company's entire executive team including then-chief executive officer Thomas Howes.[6][15] Later that year, Esterline appointed seven new senior officers, all of whom were affiliated with Criton Technologies, an aerospace manufacturer.[16] Criton Technologies was wholly owned by Dyson-Kissner-Moran (DKM), a New York City-based investment firm that had also been Esterline's largest shareholder since the firm bought Esterline in 1967 and took it public in 1968.[16] Carroll Martenson, Criton's chairman, was appointed chairman and CEO of Esterline.[16] Esterline also relocated from Darien, Connecticut, to Bellevue, Washington, in order to share its headquarters with Criton Technologies.[17] The company had been located in Darien, Connecticut since 1975.[13]

The new management team reorganized the company and sold underperforming businesses and subsidiaries.[6] In 1989, Esterline purchased DKM's remaining 23% share in the company and Criton Technologies' aerospace and defense businesses for a collective $147.5 million.[18][19] The company was then renamed Esterline Technologies.

By the early 1990s Esterline operated in ten separate industries[20] and the company refocused itself on the defense and aerospace sectors. Esterline also changed chief executives in 1992, with company president and COO Wendell Hurlbut succeeding the retiring Carroll Martenson.[21] Robert Cremin succeeded Hurlbut in January 1999.[22] Cremin had served in executive positions for the company for 22 years, and had most recently served as company president and COO.[22]

From 1997 to 2003, Esterline acquired 22 companies while selling businesses that did not fit the company's new focus. Esterline's acquisitions included Fluid Regulators Corporation, a manufacturer of hydrologic controls for the commercial aviation and defense industries;[23] Kai R. Kuhl Company, a manufacturer of seals for the aerospace industry;[24] Kirkhill Rubber, a manufacturer of custom molded engineered elastomers for the aerospace industry;[24] and Advanced Input Devices, a manufacturer of custom keyboards and multifunction data-input subsystems.[25] The company also expanded its European business with acquisitions of Muirhead Vactric and Norcroft Dynamics, two United Kingdom-based manufacturers of aerospace parts.[26]

Esterline continued its acquisition push into the defense and aerospace industries throughout the 2000s. In 2002, the company acquired the BAE Systems' North American electronic warfare countermeasures business.[27] The deal consisted of two facilities, which manufactured anti-radar chaff and aircraft-dispensable flares designed to thwart infrared homing missiles.[27] The company purchased Leach International in 2004 for $145 million.[28] Esterline had been attempting to acquire Leach since 1994 and the deal was Esterline's largest acquisition at the time.[28] Leach was a manufacturer of controls and analytical instruments for aerospace and medical diagnostics.[29]

Esterline acquired Darchem Holdings, a British manufacturer of thermally engineered aerospace and defense products including ducting systems and heat shields, in 2005. That year, 80% of Esterline's revenue came from the company's aerospace and defense business, up from 17% in 1995.[20] In 2006, Esterline purchased Wallop Defence, a British manufacturer of electronic warfare countermeasures, including flares.[30] The company then acquired CMC Electronics, a Canadian aerospace and defense avionics manufacturer in 2007 for $335 million (USD).[31]

In 2009, Esterline acquired Racal Acoustics, a British manufacturer of combat communications equipment ranging from noise-canceling communication headsets to secure telephone networks for use in active battlefields.[32] R. Bradley "Brad" Lawrence succeeded Robert Cremin as Esterline CEO in November of that year.[33] Lawrence had worked at Esterline since 2002, most recently serving as company president and COO since June 2009.[34] Cremin stepped aside to take on the Chairmanship of Dover Corporation.[33]

Esterline continued its expansion into the military communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) markets with its purchase of Eclipse Electronic Systems, a manufacturer of signal and communication intelligence hardware for aerospace applications in 2011.[35] Later that year, Esterline acquired the Souriau Group, a French aerospace and defense connector company, for $715 million.[36]

In September 2013, Esterline appointed Curtis Reusser to succeed Brad Lawrence as the company's CEO.[37] Reusser had formerly served as president of United Technologies Corporation's aircraft systems business.[37] Esterline then acquired Joslyn Sunbank Company, an aerospace connector accessory supplier, a few months later in December 2013.[38] In February 2015, Esterline acquired the defense and aerospace division of the Belgium-based display manufacturer, Barco.[39][40] In February 2017, the company announced a new advanced displays engineering and manufacturing facility in Kortrjik, Belgium called the "Spidle" site.[41]

Esterline is the producer of the well known Korry switches and control devices used in most airliners and flight simulators on the market, including Airbus, Boeing and others.[42]

Corporate structure

Esterline manufactures products for the aerospace, defense and general industry sectors.[3] The company is organized into three segments: Avionics & Controls; Sensors & Systems; and Advanced Materials.[3]

The Avionics & Controls segment manufactures avionics equipment and communication systems for both commercial and military applications.[3] The Sensors & Systems segment manufactures connectors, sensors and power management systems, which are primarily used in the aerospace industry.[3] The Advanced Materials segment manufactures elastomer products and thermal components for commercial and military applications; and military ordnance and electronic warfare countermeasures.[3]



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  40. ^ Epstein, Curt (June 10, 2015). "Barco Buy Boosts CMC's Product Range With More Displays". Aviation International News. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
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  42. ^ "Transdigm". Transdigm. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
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