The CEO of BAE Systems in the United States, Jerry DeMuro, talks about changes to Army modernization.

WASHINGTON — BAE Systems Chief Executive Jerry DeMuro will hand over leadership to Tom Arseneault next year, the company announced Tuesday.

Arseneault will transition from chief operating officer to CEO of the U.S. subsidiary of U.K.-based BAE Systems plc in April, with DeMuro taking on a newly created role of executive vice president of strategic initiatives. DeMuro will also continue to serve on the board of directors.

“I think it is one of the primary responsibilities you have, as a CEO, to develop the talent,” DeMuro told Defense News when asked about succession planning in an exclusive interview Dec. 7, during the Reagan National Defense Forum. “And leadership succession, in particular CEO succession, isn’t always smooth. I think this is a natural progression, making it smooth for our customers, our shareholders, all stakeholders and our employees.

“It’s just about progressing to that point where we on the board feel it’s time to hand that baton off.”

DeMuro has served as CEO since 2014, when he succeeded Linda Hudson. Among his key priorities during the last five years has been unifying a business primarily born out of acquisition. With Tom’s April appointment, Jerry will transition to an advisory role, providing advice and counsel to leadership with both BAE Systems Inc. in the U.S. and BAE System plc in Europe on a number of priority programs. Within the scope of his responsibilities will be chairing the internal program reviews for several key international pursuits. He will also continue to advance the defense industry’s positioning regarding evolving cybersecurity requirements.

Arseneault, who in May also added “president” to his title and was elected to the company’s board, is currently responsible for delivering business and functional performance across the company’s three sectors. He’s been with BAE for 22 years, having previously served as president of the company’s electronic systems sector and executive vice president of the product sectors.

“If you’ve been watching, we had him as the COO [chief operating officer] for several years. I also had him doing strategy and corporate development, and rounding out his portfolio" across the various business units, DeMuro said. “[I]t’s just about getting him prepared, and making sure our stakeholders are comfortable.”

BAE is currently in low-rate production for the U.S. Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle to replace the M113 armored personnel carrier and family of vehicles. It’s also scheduled to deliver its prototype for the Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle program by 2021 — required ultimately to be a 105-120mm cannon and a tracked vehicle that can withstand a classified level of enemy fire.

DeMuro has pointed to electronic warfare as another key priority area for the company, delivering capabilities to the F-35 and all other fifth-generation fighter jets, as well as precision-guided munitions and technologies that support space resiliency.

Parent company BAE Systems in the U.K. ranked seventh on the Defense News Top 100 list of the largest defense companies in the world. Defense revenue has dropped from $25.45 billion in 2015 to $22.48 billion in 2018. The U.S. subsidiary oversees one of the companies largest operations from Arlington, Virginia.