Sugar named Northrop Grumman president and CEO

Ronald Sugar will be Northrop Grumman Corp.'s next chief executive officer, company officials announced this week.

Sugar is currently president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles company.

Northrop Grumman's board of directors elected the 54-year-old Sugar to the top post, which he will assume April 1. Sugar is a 35-year defense industry veteran.

Northrop Grumman is the nation's second-largest defense contractor. It employs 120,000 and had $17.2 billion in sales in 2002. Its Information Technology unit, headquartered in Herndon, Va., had 2002 sales of $4.2 billion and employs more than 22,000.

Sugar will retain the position of company president. He came to Northrop Grumman when it acquired Litton Industries in 2001. He served 20 years in leadership positions at TRW Inc., which Northrop Grumman recently acquired.

Kent Kresa, Northrop Grumman's current chairman and chief executive officer, is set to retire after reaching the board of directors' mandatory retirement age of 65 for senior executives. He has served Northrop Grumman for 28 years, including 13 as chief executive.

Kresa will continue as non-employee chairman until Oct. 1, which he said will ensure a smooth, orderly leadership transition.

Over the past 10 years Northrop Grumman has used acquisitions to change from primarily a builder of high-tech aircraft into a defense enterprise that is the world's largest shipbuilder and a big player in space systems, defense electronics and information technology.

Sugar called his appointment the opportunity of a lifetime.

"My initial focus will be to assure the organization continues to perform well while optimizing the great strategic strengths of the company," he said.

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