Over the last year I have spent countless hours giving thought and consideration to my future and the next phase of my life. I have many more things I want to do professionally and philanthropically; many places I want to go; and family and friends I’d like to see more often. When I came to BAE Systems in 2007, I left my home in Charlotte expecting to work a few more years in the Washington DC, area. It has now been seven years and the time has come for me to move on. With mixed emotions, but certainty of purpose, I have decided to retire from BAE Systems early next year.
When I began my career in the defense industry more than 40 years ago, I was inspired by an emerging space program and motivated by the opportunity to make a difference in the world. At that time, I never could have imagined the people I would meet, the places I would travel, and the experiences I would share with so many others.
Together we have experienced extraordinary growth and the emergence of BAE Systems as a major player in the US defense industry. In a very challenging period for the industry following the drawdown of forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, we have shown we can do the right thing for our customers and our company by resizing and restructuring the business for these times and continuing to perform exceptionally well.
When you do what we do for a living – providing and supporting some of the world’s most sophisticated defense, aerospace, and intelligence systems and missions – the performance bar is always set high. Our customers routinely expect us to do amazing things and through your talent and dedication we have delivered.
When I became your president and CEO in 2009, my chief objective was to leave the company in a better place than I found it. Because of you, I believe I have accomplished this.
We have become more agile and efficient in the way in which we support our customers. We are more focused than ever, even in a time when the dysfunction in Washington has created a cloudy and uncertain environment. As a melting pot of legacy companies brought together by difference circumstances, we have broken down the barriers to collaboration and united around a common inspiration for the work we do.
I will leave knowing our company is well positioned for success.
To ensure a seamless transition, I have agreed to remain in my position into the first quarter of 2014. At that time, I will also step down from my positions as executive director of the BAE Systems plc Board and as a member of the Group’s Executive Committee. I am looking forward to continuing my service on the BAE Systems Inc Board as an outside director through April 2015.
As we enter this period of transition, I ask that you give your full support to the Inc board as it undertakes the process to identify your next president and CEO of BAE Systems Inc. In the coming weeks and months, along with you, we will remain focused on the things we can control – not the distractions beyond our control – and continue the inspired work we do every day to make our world safer and better place.
Thank you for what you have done and what you will continue to do. It has been a real pleasure to work with you. I look forward to the time we have left together to continue to strengthen our brand and continue our strong performance.
Given that I will be on the board into 2015, I remain committed to the success of the business and this is not the time to say farewell. I look at this time in my life to imagine what can yet be possible and to reflect on the extraordinary things that have been.
With the most respect and admiration for all of you.