Bill Swanson (Raytheon)
Tom Kennedy / Raytheon
WASHINGTON — Bill Swanson, one of the longest tenured heads of a major defense contractor, having served as Raytheon’s CEO for more than a decade, will step down March 31, the company said in a press release Wednesday.
Swanson, who became CEO in 2003, will be replaced by Tom Kennedy who became the company’s chief operating officer in April. Kennedy, assumed to be Swanson’s successor for some time in industry circles, was tasked with organizing Raytheon’s recent consolidation of six business groups into four.
“Under Bill’s leadership as CEO these past ten years, Raytheon has become a customer-focused leader in the aerospace and defense industry,” Adm. Vern Clark, lead director of Raytheon’s board, said in a press release. “The Company has achieved a strong balance sheet, disciplined program execution, close alignment with customer interests, leadership in global defense markets, and a reputation for sound governance and corporate responsibility,”
Swanson has long been one of the more outspoken company chiefs, often bucking conventional wisdom. He led Raytheon to massive growth in the international market, a move most other defense companies are trying to emulate. He also started increasing Raytheon’s research and development (R&D) spending, just as many defense companies have been cutting R&D funds, a move that paid off with Raytheon’s big win in the Air and Missile Defense Radar competition.
Kennedy will take over the world’s fourth largest defense company after having worked for Raytheon for more than 30 years. A retired US Air Force captain, Kennedy holds a doctorate in engineering from UCLA. ■