New man Anderson takes up CEO seat at Thompson Aero as testing facility set to open

Thompson Aero Seating's business-class seats are used by many of the world's biggest airlines
Thompson Aero Seating's business-class seats are used by many of the world's biggest airlines

PORTADOWN aerospace manufacturer Thompson Aero Seating has named Keith Anderson as its new chief executive.

He replaces Neil Taggart, who is leaving the company for a role elsewhere.

Keith arrives with a track record for consistently transforming organisations and teams to deliver outstanding results.

He joins Thompson from IQE plc, where he was chief operating officer.

He previously enjoyed six years at Collins Aerospace, where he was business unit director for the Kilkeel firm's business-class seats, leading them to a three-fold increase in revenue and a strong profit.

He was also instrumental in the successful on-time delivery of multiple major seating programmes and left an outstanding team as a legacy when he moved on.

Thompson Aero Seating's chief commercial officer Andy Morris said: “Keith is a collaborative executive leader with a wealth of manufacturing experience.”

He added that, having been integral to maintaining the resilience of the business throughout the pandemic, his predecessor Neil Taggart “has ensured Keith will inherit a globally aware business with a strong order book and a focused workforce, known for its innovation and inspired design”.

He added: “Everyone at Thompson thanks Neil for his exceptional dedication to the business over the last five years and we are confident he will continue to excel in his new career.

“He hands over to Keith during exciting times time in Thompson’s journey, and we looking forward to seeing what the company can achieve next under his leadership.”

In November Thompson Aero Seating announced the creation of a Dynamic Test Facility (DTF) which it said will catapult the company into a new era of development and innovation.

Described as the first of its kind on the island of Ireland, Thompson said the 13,500 sq ft facility in Banbridge represents a £7.5m investment. It is on schedule to open in October.

Thompson ( is one of the world's foremost designers and manufacturers of premium seating for major airlines like Delta, China Eastern and Singapore Airlines.

Its seats are installed on all major aircraft platforms including Airbus A321, A330 and A350 and Boeing B737 and B787.

It has been owned since 2016 by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

The company has had a torrid last few years, when demand for its seats collapsed and it was forced to halve its workforce from 1,200 to just over 600. It ended 2021 with losses of £25.5 million.