Business

Raytheon CEO William Swanson steps down

New Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy (top) previously ran its integrated defense systems business. He will replace William Swanson, who joined Raytheon in 1972.
New Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy (top) previously ran its integrated defense systems business. He will replace William Swanson, who joined Raytheon in 1972.

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After leading Waltham defense giant Raytheon Co. for more than a decade, chief executive officer William Swanson is stepping down.

Swanson’s departure from the helm of one of Massachusetts largest public companies, and one of the world’s biggest defense contractors, was announced Wednesday but appears to have been in the works for about a year. Swanson plans to step aside March 31, following his 65th birthday in February. He will remain chairman of the board as his successor, the company's chief operating officer, Thomas Kennedy, transitions to the role of CEO.

Swanson, who joined Raytheon in 1972, is credited with helping transform the company that was once primarily known as a maker of missiles into a military electronics and technology company with a growing cybersecurity business.

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