Executive Mosaic is glad to introduce Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) CEO Wes Bush as a selection to our 2017 Wash100 list of the government contracting sector’s Most Influential Voices.
Calendar year 2016 saw the Falls Church, Va.-based defense contractor confirmed as the winner of the U.S. Air Force‘s Long Range Strike Bomber contract after the Government Accountability Office denied a protest by the rival team of Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) in February.
The Air Force originally selected Northrop in October 2015 for one of the most anticipated big-ticket defense programs since the Joint Strike Fighter went to Lockheed in 2001 and Bush has attributed his company’s win to corporate-level investments focused on affordability in design and production.
In a November conference call with investors, Bush said Northrop took that approach to the bomber competition in light of how agencies have had to prioritize their investments based on funding availability in a limited budget environment as security threats have grown.
“Our customers are saying they’ve got to be able to get more capability at a lower cost and that’s just the way it is. We all know it doesn’t do much good to fight over the small percentage differences that you can negotiate around profitability,” Bush said.
Another area of attention at Northrop for investors this year centered around the company’s plans for its technology services segment in light of earlier moves by fellow defense primes Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and L3 Technologies (NYSE: LLL) to spinoff or sell similar units.
Bush sought to tamp down analyst speculation over a potential separation of Northrop’s services business during a July conference call and said he would rather find different areas for that workforce to focus on.
“If it’s very, very clear that some part of our business would be better executed in the hands of another party, we’re the first to step up and make that happen,” Bush said.
“In general… I have a bias towards redeploying the amazing people that we have in that organization to ensure that we can be on the better trajectory.”