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Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush to resign by end of year

Wes Bush will resign his position as Northrop Grumman’s chief executive on 1 January, ending a nine-year term that saw the company sell of its shipbuilding business and gain a contract to develop a long-range strike bomber for the US Air Force.

Bush will also relinquish his chairman role after July 2019.

The company announced on 12 July that its board of directors elected Kathy Warden, Northrop president and chief operating officer, to the position of CEO and president after 1 January. Warden was also elected by the board to serve as a member of the board, effective immediately.

Warden joined the company in 2008 from General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems where she was vice-president of Intelligence Systems. She became Northrop's president and COO only six months ago.

Prior to that she served as vice-president and general manager of Northrop's cyber security business, president of its former information systems sector and president of its mission systems sector.

“The board of directors has a strong focus on succession planning, and Kathy’s election as our incoming CEO and president enables us to ensure a seamless transition in this important leadership position for our company,” said Don Felsinger, Northrop's lead independent director. “The board appreciates the tremendous progress the company has made under Wes’ leadership and we look forward to building on this progress with Kathy as our next CEO.”

Wes Bush succeeded Ron Sugar as CEO in January 2010. He has served as chairman since July 2011.

Perhaps Bush’s two most important accomplishments as CEO were winning the B-21 Raider heavy bomber contract from the US Air Force in 2015 and executing the $9.2 billion deal to buy Orbital ATK, which was formally completed in June. The acquisition of Orbital ATK is a key part of the company’s strategy to win the contest for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, the replacement for the Cold War-era Minuteman III ballistic missile system.

Bush raised some eyebrows in recent years by choosing to not bid on a number of prominent programmes including the US Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray unmanned carrier aviation air system, the USAF’s T-X trainer jet and Long Range Stand Off Weapon.

In 2011, Northrop spun off shipyard operations to form Newport News Shipbuilding, a builder of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers for the US Navy.

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