Aviation Leader, Entrepreneur Kenn Ricci Named to Embry-Riddle’s Board of Trustees

Kenn Ricci
Kenn Ricci was formally confirmed to the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Board of Trustees last week. (Photo: Kenn Ricci)

Flexjet Chairman Kenn Ricci — a leading aviation entrepreneur and philanthropist — was confirmed March 29 to serve on the Board of Trustees of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Ricci is principal of Directional Aviation Capital, a firm that owns and invests in a wide range of aviation-related businesses. This portfolio includes Flexjet, a provider of fractional private jet services, and its many affiliates. Additionally, Ricci owns businesses serving numerous other sectors within aviation.

“Kenn is second to none when it comes to deep understanding of the aviation business and a successful track record in the industry,” said Mori Hosseini, chairman of the Embry-Riddle Board of Trustees. “He will not only be an outstanding board member but he shares our mission of molding the next generation of talent in aviation and aerospace.”

Embry-Riddle President P. Barry Butler, Ph.D., added: “Trustee Ricci is a pillar of the aviation industry. His unique leadership skills, business acumen, passion and vision will be incredible assets, and I look forward to working with him.”

In addition to assembling one of the world’s largest groups of private aviation companies — collectively, Ricci’s firms account for over $4 billion in revenue, operate more than 300 aircraft and employ over 5,000 people — Ricci has also shown a longstanding commitment to higher education.

“Investing in future aviators is one of the most important services that those of us who love aviation can perform; in fact, that’s one of the many reasons I felt it vital to develop the Flexjet Innovation and Career Center at Embry-Riddle in 2017,” Ricci said. “Embry-Riddle is the leader in inspiring and educating the future of our industry, and I am eager to collaborate to uphold the university’s mission of teaching the science, practice and business of aviation and aerospace."

Ricci began his aviation career as an Air Force ROTC cadet at the University of Notre Dame. In 1980, he founded his first company, Corporate Wings, which provides aircraft management and charter operations. An accomplished pilot in his own right, Ricci’s more than 40-year aviation career has taken him across the globe.

In 2016, Ricci was honored with the Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award from the Living Legends of Aviation organization. Today that award bears his name. Three years later, the organization honored him as a Living Legend of Aviation.

Ricci’s charitable endeavors include Able Flight, which provides people with disabilities a way to challenge themselves through flight and career training. In 2014, he was honored by the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for championing research and treatment of the disease.

In 2018, Ricci was named among the Top 50 Philanthropists in “Town & Country Magazine” for his outstanding support of higher education, including his creation of a groundbreaking giving structure called the Philanthropic Succession Partnership that led to the donation of $100 million to the University of Notre Dame — the largest unrestricted gift in the university’s history.

Ricci also serves on the University of Notre Dame’s board of trustees and the Smithsonian National Board of The Smithsonian Institution.

Posted In: Institutional News