General Dynamics Corporation : General Dynamics CEO Johnson to Retire; Novakovic Is Successor
06/06/2012| 05:25pm US/Eastern
By Tess Stynes
General Dynamics Corp.'s (GD) Chairman and Chief Executive Jay L. Johnson plans to retire from both posts at year's end and will be succeeded by the defense contractor's recently promoted chief operating officer.
Shares were down 2.6% at %61.98 in after-hours trading. Through the close, the stock is down 10% in the past year.
Phebe N. Novakovic, 54 years old, will serve in both positions. She had been named president and chief operating officer in May. Prior to that, she had been an executive in the company's marine-systems group for roughly 2 years. She has also held the titles of senior vice president of planning and development and vice president of strategic planning.
Mr. Johnson, who turned 66 this week, said in a statement that he had met the objectives he had when he took the CEO post, including enhancing the relevance of the company's products and services delivered to its customers.
"The company is on an excellent financial footing, our operational performance is unmatched and our leadership team is very robust" Mr. Johnson said. "This is the right time to transition."
General Dynamics, like many defense companies, has been diversifying while aiming to strengthen its information-technology business, its biggest source of revenue, as the industry copes with weak defense budgets.
The company in April reported that first-quarter earnings fell 8.7% amid weaker performances at its information-systems and technology segment and its combat-systems business.
-Write to Tess Stynes at Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com