Profile: Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush

WASHINGTON Wed Sep 7, 2011 3:43pm EDT

Northrop Grumman Corp CEO Wes Bush takes part in the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Northrop Grumman Corp CEO Wes Bush takes part in the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington September 7, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wes Bush, the 50-year-old chief executive of defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N), hasn't had a lot of time to devote to hobbies in the past year.

In March, Northrop Grumman, the Pentagon's top supplier of unmanned systems, completed its spinoff of Huntington Ingalls, its $6 billion shipbuilding business.

In July, Bush added the role of chairman to his existing titles of CEO and president.

Last month, Northrop moved its corporate headquarters to Falls Church, Virginia, outside Washington D.C., from Los Angeles, California. No sooner had the company made the move than a magnitude 6.0 earthquake shook the U.S. East Coast on August 23.

"The earthquake in our first week of operation made us feel right at home," Bush told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington on Wednesday.

Personal pastimes have had to take a backseat.

"I've been spending this past year in getting the company moved and dealing with the focus around performance," he said.

Bush said the cross-country move has been good for Northrop.

"It has provided us with not only the opportunity to have the improved proximity to our customer base, but it has also given us the opportunity to bring what had been some different parts of our company together," he said.

"It was also an opportunity to reduce the size of our corporate office a little bit, so from the affordability perspective we took advantage of that."

Bush's career with Northrop goes back to 1987 when he joined TRW Inc, a sprawling conglomerate whose businesses ranged from aerospace to automotive, which Northrop Grumman acquired in 2002.

He started with TRW as a systems engineer after earning a master's degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and working as an engineer with the Aerospace Corp and Comsat Labs.

By the time Northrop acquired the company, Bush had become president and chief executive of TRW's British-based global aeronautical systems.

Last year he received total compensation of $22.9 million, up from $10.4 million in 2009, according to an annual company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bush, who has not served in the military and is not related to the former presidents of the United States, is a member of the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

(Reporting by Mike Miller, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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