Senior Vice President of Business Development and CEO of Raytheon International
For nearly 40 years, Tom Culligan has held some of the most significant positions in the aerospace and defense industry, as well as on Capitol Hill. At one point early in his career, he was one of the youngest senior executives at McDonnell Douglas Corporation, serving as corporate vice president of Program Development and Marketing.
Culligan moved forward from there, to AlliedSignal as vice president of Government Operations and to Honeywell as vice president and general manager of its Defense & Space business.
Today, as Raytheon's senior vice president of Business Development and CEO of Raytheon International, Culligan melds years of business wisdom into a unique perspective of what it takes to remain successful in the global aerospace and defense market. At Raytheon, he is responsible for worldwide sales and marketing, our international business, government relations and for developing and leading the execution of the company's business strategy. He is the senior executive at Raytheon's corporate office in Washington, D.C.
Culligan's career has been characterized by a willingness to step up to diverse challenges. Prior to his corporate career, he was the legislative director for a member of the U.S. Congress and served as chief of staff for Florida's secretary of state.
Now in his 12th year with Raytheon, Culligan took some time to share his views with Technology Today on Raytheon's business activities in more than 80 nations around the world, as well as the current business cycle and the unique market challenges that lie ahead.
Here is what he had to say.
TT: What do you see as the future for Raytheon's international business?
TC: Raytheon has steadily increased international business to 25 percent of sales. As the U.S. defense and security market has increasingly grown more competitive, as the result of increased financial pressures stemming from the federal budget deficit, the international market in particular has provided a strong line of profitable growth. In fact, today Raytheon enjoys the largest percentage of international business among all U.S. defense contractors.
We have participated vigorously in the international market for decades and our commitment is enduring, providing an edge that many of our competitors do not enjoy and could not easily replicate. For example, we've done business in the Middle East for nearly 50 years. Our customers in the region respect the fact that we have stayed the course through many challenging cycles, and our sustained record of commitment and performance yields an incredible competitive advantage.
TT: How does technology play into Raytheon's long-term international business strategy?
TC: Raytheon has the broadest range of technology in the industry and we use our extensive portfolio to our advantage in the international market. Unlike many of our competitors, we can forward-fit our technology onto new platforms, like ships and aircraft, just as easily as we back-fit technology onto legacy platforms that are being upgraded. Since many of the world's militaries are in the process of modernization, this is a distinct advantage.
Raytheon's technology is in the sweet spots of the international market, in sensors and radars, C4I [command, control, communications, computers and intelligence], missile systems, surveillance and reconnaissance. Whether in peacetime or war, most nations would like to have a high degree of certainty about what their neighbors are doing, using ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] and C4I with the requisite sensor and radar technologies to remain vigilant. They also want a range of precision effects to deter aggression in the face of danger.
The fact is that the world remains a very dangerous place. And our customers respect the fact that Raytheon's technology can contribute to peace and stability today and for years to come.
TT: What are some of the key differences, culturally or in terms of how to do business, in the various international markets and regions where Raytheon operates?
TC: It would probably be easier to answer the question "what are the similarities" because they are fewer, apart from the fact that all of our customers want the finest defense and security technology in the world and a trusted partner to work with. Beyond that, each region or nation demands a unique understanding of the culture, business environment and governing laws.
In the Middle East, for example, relationships must be cultivated and developed over long periods of time, building trust and respect along with proven performance. Our customers expect to receive the best products and services from a committed partner who understands and appreciates their full range of concerns, business or otherwise. They want a partner who knows what is on their minds and takes a holistic approach to the relationship, keeping every aspect of their goals and challenges in focus.
TT: How does Raytheon's commitment to being a good corporate citizen, including providing support to education, help us achieve international business growth?
TC: The best way to brand Raytheon as a business that cares is to be a good corporate citizen. It molds our image as a partner with whom governments and people want to associate … over the long haul.
For example, the Middle East has the youngest population in the world and our customers want Raytheon to support education and the development of the regions' technology industrial base. They want us to help create opportunities and a skilled workforce. That's why we're investing in a series of programs to support education and technology development in the region. Our customers are seeing the efforts, and I can assure you that their appreciation is very genuine, while their perception of Raytheon is growing from great to even better.
TT: Given your background in both the commercial and government aerospace and defense market sectors, what attracts you most to Raytheon?
TC: That's an easy question: the people and technology of Raytheon make this a special company. We apply our technology to save the lives of people who put themselves in harm's way to protect us. Few things could be better than that.