WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Cessna Aircraft Co. chairman Russ Meyer says he plans to take a reduced role at the world's leading manufacturer of light and medium business jets, but will remain in product development and marketing.

Meyer, 66, said this week he will step down as chief executive officer by the end of the year.

Meyer has been at Cessna for 25 years and has been CEO for 24 years. There had been speculation in the aviation industry for the past two years about when he would retire.

Vice Chairman Gary Hay will assume the duties of chief executive by year-end, Meyer said. Charlie Johnson will continue as president and chief operating officer.