AIAA Announces Plans for CEO Transition Written 3 January 2024


AIAA CEO Dan Dumbacher

January 3, 2024 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) announced today that CEO Dan Dumbacher will step down from his role on September 30, 2024. 

“Dan shared his intent to leave his role as steward of the Institute during a recent AIAA Board of Trustees meeting. His leadership over the past six years has been key to solidly positioning us for a strong future, especially successfully navigating through the challenges of the pandemic. We highly value his many contributions to AIAA and the aerospace community. At the heart of that leadership is his enduring commitment to helping AIAA members succeed as they devote their life’s work to unraveling the mysteries of flight and exploring the universe. We wish him all the best in his next chapter,” said AIAA President Laura McGill.

Dumbacher joined AIAA in 2018 as Executive Director (now CEO) following a more than 30-year career at NASA. He also served as a Professor of Engineering Practice in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, where he taught courses in systems thinking, systems engineering, and space policy. He has been a member of AIAA for almost 40 years.

“It has been a great pleasure to work closely with Dan on inspiring the next generation. In just the past few years of our collaboration, the Foundation has been able to offer new STEM education programs to K-12 students, establish partnerships to impact one million students per year by 2025, create the new Trailblazing STEM Educator Award to recognize deserving teachers, and add valuable new university scholarship opportunities for students studying aerospace engineering,” said AIAA Foundation Chair Basil Hassan.

During his tenure, the Institute has continued to deliver on its mission to help aerospace professionals and their organizations succeed. In 2020, the Institute embarked on a Domain approach to help accelerate innovation and progress in 21st-century Aeronautics, Aerospace Research and Development (R&D), and Space. Recognizing the systems applications and missions of today, along with the rapidly evolving marketplace, this structure has propelled AIAA into the future as we have established priority issues within each Domain that serve the interests of our members and the industry. AIAA strategically coordinates programs and activities to make progress solving generational-scale challenges across the aerospace industry. The total team effort across the Board of Trustees, Domain Task Forces, Technical Committees, Integration and Outreach Committees, local sections, student branches, and external partnerships has established AIAA’s approach to address the community’s needs while enabling AIAA to operate at the speed of a dynamic and rapidly changing market.

Under Dumbacher’s guidance, AIAA has continued its work as a world-renowned technical leader through the combination of his tireless advocacy of the industry among policymakers and government leaders at state, national, and global levels, and the endorsement of an audaciously bold vision for the future of aerospace. 

The Institute’s relentless progress through the pandemic-related challenges contributed to new ways of delivering programs while maintaining the Institute’s industry-leading publishing capability. “Looking back, AIAA members and stakeholders demonstrated their world-class resilience during this unprecedented period. This spirit of perseverance is in our industry’s DNA,” said Dumbacher. 

Dumbacher has been a vocal thought leader in aeronautics and astronautics subjects, publishing editorials on timely industry topics, appearing frequently in media coverage of industry events, and sharing his passion about developing the next generation STEM-literate workforce. He has enthusiastically championed diversity, equity, and inclusion in aerospace, helping move the community toward better reflecting the demographics of society. Through his influential contributions, the Institute is viewed as an essential voice for the industry.

“AIAA is a world-class organization fueled by inspiration, perseverance, and extraordinary accomplishments. The Institute is renowned for representing aerospace excellence for nearly a century. It has been a profound privilege to lead the professional team at AIAA and partner with our dedicated volunteer members as we built on the legacy of AIAA’s reputation. I would like to personally thank the AIAA staff, our members, and all of our stakeholders for their guidance and support through the years. I am humbled to have contributed in a small way to the long list of remarkable accomplishments we achieved together,” said Dumbacher.

The AIAA Board of Trustees has retained Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) to assist with the national search for its next CEO. The search process is expected to take several months and will be led by Julia McGeorge and Stephanie Tomasso in the RRA Washington, DC, office. 

AIAA Media Contact: Rebecca Gray,, 804-397-5270 cell

About AIAA
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.