ITT Corp. makes it official: Defense, IS is ITT Exelis

ITT Corp., a company born of spinoffs, is spinning again.

The White Plains, N.Y., corporation will officially spin off its ITT Defense and Information Solutions business on October 31, the company announced on Oct. 14.

The stand-along business becomes ITT Exelis, said Mike Wilson, president of ITT Information Systems.

ITT Defense and Information Solutions President Dave Melcher will become CEO of the new company, which begins public trading on Nov. 1.

ITT first announced its spinoff plans in July.

Two other ITT Corp. operating groups – Motion and Flow Control and Fluid Technology -- also will become independent, publicly traded companies on November 1.

ITT Exelis’ four operating divisions –Wilson’s information systems, missions systems, electronic systems and geospatial systems – will remain the same, he said.

“The principal reason for the move is to allow each of the three spin companies to be much more exquisitely and acutely focused on the markets and customers that they serve,” Wilson said.

“What this [restructuring] principally represents is an opportunity to focus with uncluttered attention. Much more laser-like, to the customer community that we serve,” he said. “That’s the principal advantage, by the way, for ITT Exelis. We will be exclusively focused on our government customers."

International Telephone & Telegraph, IT&T, was founded in 1920 and became a large diversified business that included the Sheraton hotel chain.

IT&T in 1995 was spun off into three companies: a hotel unit called Starwood, the financial properties went to Hartford Insurance Co., and the defense and manufacturing sector became ITT Industries Inc., Wilson explained.

ITT Industries became ITT Corp. in 2003, with three business sectors: Motion Flow Control, Fluid Technologies and Defense and Information Solutions.

Wilson said ITT Exelis was chosen as the new name to capture “the key attributes that correctly describe who we are, what our culture is, what we’re about [and] how we intend to serve.”

He added that the old ITT motto “engineered for life” is applicable also to ITT Exelis.

That engineering and problem-solving ethos remains with the company, Wilson said. “That is the core of what we offer customers in whatever operating division we’re in.”

ITT Exelis has 20,000 employees, a majority of them in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

ITT Exelis will invest up to $5 million to establish its new corporate headquarters at Tysons Corner, Va., according to a July 18 announcement from the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

The project will create 100 new jobs over the next three to five years across all of its business operations in the Commonwealth, the FCEDA announcement said.

Wilson’s Information Systems unit headquarters will remain in Herndon, Va., Mission Systems has its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Geospatial Systems is based in Rochester, N.Y., and Electronic Systems has its headquarters in Clifton, N.J.

Wilson said ITT Defense and Information Systems recorded about $6 billion in annual revenue in 2010.

ITT Corp., of White Plains, N.Y., ranks No. 16 on Washington Technology’s 2011 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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