John Casey, right, watches as ship sponsor Allison Stiller christens the new submarine Mississippi in December 2011 at the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Conn. Casey will soon oversee all three major General Dynamics shipyards. (MCC Sam Shavers / U.S. Navy)
John Casey, president of submarine builder General Dynamics Electric Boat, is moving up the corporate ladder to succeed Phebe Novakovic as head of GD’s Marine Systems group.
Casey will be succeeded in the top spot at Electric Boat by Kevin Poitras, the company’s senior vice president of engineering, design and business development.
The moves, to be effective May 2, were a closely held secret until the corporation announced them April 4.
Novakovic was elected in March to become president and chief operating officer of GD, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., just outside Washington.
Besides Electric Boat, which has shipbuilding facilities in Groton, Conn., and Quonset Point, R.I., GD’s Marine Systems Group includes Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, and the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO), in San Diego. About 20,600 employees work for the group, which generated net revenue of $6.6 billion in 2011.
Electric Boat specializes in nuclear submarine construction, while Bath Iron Works builds large surface combatants. NASSCO builds support ships for the U.S. Navy and commercial ships for Jones Act domestic U.S. trade routes.
Casey, 57, has been president of Electric Boat since October 2003, and is the longest-serving shipyard head at Groton since the mid-1970s. He joined EB in 1979 and moved steadily up the corporate ladder, earning master’s degrees in business administration and management. He is widely credited by the U.S. Navy and members of Congress with steadily improving the submarine building process at EB.
Casey “will leave a legacy at Electric Boat of building new submarines ahead of schedule and below budget,” Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., said in a news release about the appointment.
GD chairman and CEO Jay Johnson, a retired U.S. Navy chief of naval operations, lauded Casey as having “has done a superb job as president of Electric Boat. He fully understands the intricacies and opportunities facing the Marine Systems group.”
Poitras, 60, has worked at EB since 1973, when he signed on as a construction support engineer. Specializing in nuclear propulsion programs, he worked on the CVN 21 aircraft carrier design program; Los Angeles, Ohio, Seawolf and Virginia submarine classes; the Ohio Replacement Program and Britain’s program for a new ballistic missile submarine.
Poitras is a graduate of the Maine Maritime Academy and holds a Coast Guard 3rd Assistant Engineer’s license of Unlimited Horsepower.