Israel Aerospace Industries has disclosed that its chief executive Joseph Weiss will step down once a replacement is identified and "an orderly succession process has taken place".
Weiss has held managerial positions at IAI for two decades and became its chief in 2012. The manufacturer, which notes that he is now approaching retirement age, credits him with having "led the company to many accomplishments", citing an "unprecedented record of $5.5 billion in contracts in the past year and all-time record order backlog of over $11 billion".
IAI adds that it has become "Israel's largest high-tech corporation" during Weiss's period in charge, and that he has implemented "a far-reaching growth plan that includes streamlining, payroll reductions and refining the business focus".
Harel Locker, the company's chairman, praises the outgoing chief for having "skillfully navigated the complex operations of IAI in face of huge challenges".
Weiss describes this year as "one of the most successful and turbulent" in the manufacturer's history, and states that the achievements of 2017 "allow IAI to start the coming decade well prepared for global competition".
He declares himself "proud to leave behind me robust technological and business infrastructure and corporate culture aligned with the evolving competitive climate".
IAI says that "within the next few weeks" a search committee will be established to select a new chief. Weiss has agreed to remain at the helm until his successor is appointed and for "as long as necessary to ensure smooth transition".
In its role as a defence contractor, IAI develops and builds systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber and homeland security. It also designs and manufactures business jets and aerostructures, while its Bedek Aviation division performs MRO on commercial aircraft and converts passenger aircraft to refuelling and cargo configurations.
In October, Israeli business publication Globes highlighted the USA's refusal to grant Weiss a visa to visit the country, but quoted him as saying that it did not affect IAI's performance in that market. "These days, you don’t have to be physically present," he said. "The technology enables you to function from Lod as well."
Weiss also told Globes: "I won't say that it isn't annoying, but it's only an anecdote. As far as I'm concerned, as long as our business with US companies is successful and beneficial to both countries, as long as IAI's activity in the US is perceived as good for Israel and America, that's enough."