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Raytheon CEO: A Focus on Global

Tom Kennedy outlines vision for aerospace and defense at Farnborough Airshow

Raytheon CEO Tom Kennedy visits employees at the company's plant in Andover, Massachusetts.

Raytheon CEO Tom Kennedy is focused on growth. Global growth.

As the Farnborough International Airshow began, Raytheon.com sat down with Kennedy to get his thoughts on Raytheon's opportunity in the global aerospace and defense industry.

“Approaching the international market as a global company is key to our future,” said Kennedy, who took the reins of the aerospace and defense firm on March 31. “Our goal has always been to be a partner: to provide the best possible solutions for our customers at a competitive price.”

Kennedy opened Raytheon's technology showcase and met with a multitude of customers and industry experts at Farnborough, the global aerospace and defense industry's biggest stage. The show is held once every two years, just outside London.

With hundreds of Raytheon products deployed in more than 80 countries around the world, Kennedy described how he sees Farnborough’s famous flying demonstrations through a Raytheon lens.

"I see the planes of course, but what I am looking at is the radar, electronic warfare, electro-optical/infrared and processor systems inside, I see the missiles hanging on the wings, and the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability,” Kennedy said. “I see all of our technology solutions that make the platform outstanding."

Kennedy is a 31-year veteran of Raytheon with extensive experience in product management, program leadership and business creation. He joined the company after serving as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, where he managed a variety of development and production programs.

Kennedy was named as Chief Operating Officer of Raytheon in 2013. He led the consolidation of the Waltham, Mass.-based company, restructuring it from six businesses to four and launching a shared-services group to improve efficiency.

Upon being named CEO in March, Kennedy reinforced the importance of competitive advantage to the Raytheon team.

"It's not just having a better performing solution than our competitors, which is vitally important, but true competitive advantage comes when we deliver those superior solutions at a lower cost," he said.

The company has a long history of working abroad. International business represented 27 percent of Raytheon’s sales of nearly $24 billion in 2013, and 30 percent of total bookings.

Raytheon’s international footprint is an important differentiator and a key element of the company’s solid foundation, Kennedy said, noting that Raytheon has been operating in the Middle East for over 48 years.

“Our success has always been centered around the longevity of our customer relationships and the commitment of our employees," Kennedy said. “We’re hiring local people to be part of our workforce and we’re developing, and in some cases, integrating and producing our products in the countries that we’re doing business in. We're not just taking an order – we're committed to fully partnering locally with our customers, and that includes a local commitment to production development and supply chain.”

The Farnborough show followed a string of important international contracts in the last year, including a $515 million deal to provide Kuwait with Patriot fire units and over $300 million of cyber business internationally. More recently, Qatar publicly announced intentions to proceed with a Patriot procurement and Poland recently announced Patriot had been downselected for the final round of its air and missile defense competition.

Additional opportunities are pending in South Korea and other countries. The company’s Standard Missile-3, which tracks and destroys ballistic missiles, is also on track for deployment with U.S. forces in Romania and Poland.

Raytheon continues to see a booming international market for air and missile defense, command-and-control systems, cyber, naval systems and critical infrastructure protection, Kennedy said. Key markets include the Middle East and North Africa, the Asia-Pacific region and Eastern Europe.

Customers in those regions want to do business with companies that are committed to seeing them flourish, Kennedy said. That dedication often turns into new opportunities, especially in training, maintenance and support.

“Our goal is to be a partner to our customers in keeping their nation safe,” Kennedy said.

Last Updated: 07/21/2014

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