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Raytheon welcomes new CEO Thomas A. Kennedy

Thomas A. Kennedy begins work this week as Raytheon’s chief executive officer, taking the helm of the aerospace and defense company as it pioneers new technologies and broadens its worldwide presence.

The 30-year Raytheon veteran credits the Waltham, Mass.-based firm’s culture of opportunity and advancement for his progression through the company, including his new role as CEO.

Thomas A. Kennedy, CEO of RaytheonA former U.S. Air Force captain, Kennedy joined Raytheon as an engineer working on the B-2 bomber radar development program in the company’s Space and Airborne Systems business. He spent most of his career working on programs and business creation.

Kennedy later ran Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business, which makes the Patriot air and missile defense system, the AN/TPY-2 radar and the Navy’s new Air and Missile Defense Radar, among other products. There he oversaw a broad portfolio of weapons, sensors, and integration systems spanning multiple mission areas for a range of domestic and international customers.

Kennedy has spent the last year as Raytheon’s chief operating officer, streamlining Raytheon’s business segments from six to four to better align with customer priorities and establishing the company's new Global Business Services unit.

Kennedy succeeds William H. Swanson, who remains chairman of the company’s board of directors. As he assumes the company’s executive leadership, we asked Tom to discuss his vision for Raytheon, his near-term priorities and what’s next for the industry.

Q: What are your goals for Raytheon?

My focus is on continuing to grow our company, expanding into new markets with new customers for our advanced technologies, system solutions and services. Over the course of his 11-plus- year tenure as CEO, Bill Swanson built a solid foundation for the company's future success — a foundation rooted in our common vision, strategy, goals and values. As we look toward the future, we will continue to focus on investing for the long-term in innovative solutions that play to our core strengths in electronic warfare, air and missile defense, C5ISR (command, control and sensors) and cyber. We are already seeing the benefit of these investments in key program wins on Next Generation Jammer and Air and Missile Defense Radar program awards. And we are well positioned to capture the increased focus and investment in cyber outlined in the Department of Defense’s budget.

International is a source of considerable long-term growth potential. In 2013, international comprised 30 percent of our overall bookings. We will continue our efforts to build on success in the global markets, including enabling greater co-development and co-production in the local markets.

Q: What experiences most inform your leadership style?

I began my career in the military, and I learned the defense industry from the outside in. As a captain in the Air Force, I had the opportunity to develop and field a space product while working on space launch vehicles. In that role, I learned a number of valuable lessons. One was the importance of true customer partnership. It’s not enough to develop and produce world-class systems. It’s about working with the customer to come up with solutions that meet their needs. Ultimately, it comes down to the depth of the customer partnership. The second is the power of disciplined collaboration and a strong network. While this has always been a key tenet of any business plan, the execution of it can be difficult. Successful, disciplined collaboration takes focus and, most importantly, a healthy business matrix. My approach has been, and will continue to be, to foster those attributes: customer partnership and enterprise collaboration – to support a healthy company culture.

Q: What will it take to fuel Raytheon’s global growth in this challenging market environment?

Raytheon's global growth will be fueled by our continued efforts on Customer Focused Marketing (Performance, Solutions and Relationships). We must drive flawless execution on our existing programs and we must provide innovative solutions that provide a better value to our customers than our competitors. Over the course of my 30-plus years with the company I've experienced this first hand: when we put our minds to it, there's nothing we can't accomplish. To support those goals, we'll continue to make key investments in research and development, as we did with GaN (gallium nitride technology). We will compete in both our domestic and international markets by providing differentiated, affordable solutions. We have the financial strength to operate with agility in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive environment. And we remain committed to building a strong innovation workforce pipeline for the future.

Q: How important is culture to Raytheon’s success?

Our cultural vitality is more important than ever. Our vision, strategy, goals and values are the glue that binds us together. Our values and behaviors drive disciplined collaboration that gives us true competitive advantage. And, our approach to diversity – of experience, inclusion and thinking – distinguishes our culture.

As I assume leadership of this great company, I can’t help but reflect on how my new role is the result of years of investments the company has made in my leadership development and education. Raytheon places strong emphasis on building a culture of opportunity and advancement for all employees. My career is a strong affirmation of that long-standing commitment, and I look forward to ensuring the same is true for the next generation of leadership.

Published: 03/26/2014

Last Updated: 05/05/2015

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