Novakovic to succeed GD's Johnson as CEO
WASHINGTON, June 6
WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) - General Dynamics on Wednesday announced that Chief Executive Jay Johnson will retire at the end of the year, to be succeeded by Phebe Novakovic, who took over as chief operating officer and president last month.
Johnson, who celebrated his 66th birthday this week, will receive a bonus of $3.6 million, plus an additional $825,000 for consulting services through the end of June, General Dynamics said a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Novakovic, 54, a one-time CIA officer, was running the company's marine division before being named president and chief operating officer in March.
She had the strong backing of Nick Chabraja, the powerful former chief executive of the company who still holds a seat on the board, according to sources familiar with the process.
The same sources had predicted in March that Johnson would leave his position within a year, making room for Novakovic would to move up to the top spot, but an announcement had not been expected until later in the year.
The General Dynamics' board made the decision at a regular meeting on Wednesday.
Johnson, a former Navy fighter pilot who rose to become a four-star admiral and chief of naval operations, said the timing of the changes made sense.
"The company is on an excellent financial footing, our operational performance is unmatched and our leadership team is very robust. This is the right time to transition," he said in a statement released by the company.
General Dynamics cited development of a new double-V hull Stryker combat vehicle, which protects soldiers from roadside bomb attacks, was among its most significant operational achievements during Johnson's tenure.
It said Johnson also oversaw the start of two-per-year production of Virginia-class attack submarines, and the final development of two new aircraft for Gulfstream, the ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 and the super mid-sized Gulfstream G280. Both aircraft are scheduled to enter service this year.
Johnson joined General Dynamics in 2003.
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