Rockwell Collins Names Ortberg New CEO

By By Woodrow Bellamy III | August 1, 2013
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Rockwell Collins on Thursday announced the selection of company President Kelly Ortberg as its new CEO, succeeding Clay Jones, who announced his retirement from the aerospace and defense manufacturer in April after 34 years.

(Kelly Ortberg, newly appointed Rockwell Collins CEO. Photo, courtesy of Rockwell Collins.)

Ortberg first joined Rockwell Collins in 1987 as a program manager for its multi-functional information distribution system program, and was appointed president in September 2012.

The announcement comes following a third quarter where net income for the company dropped slightly to $164 million compared to $166 million during the same period a ago. According to its quarterly earnings report, Rockwell Collins–which begins its fiscal year in October–saw an increase in sales of its commercial avionics systems, while experiencing a decrease in sales to defense customers, mainly caused by government budget cuts.

Going forward, Ortberg said he wants to focus on the international market, especially in emerging markets such as Brazil “where we have great opportunities on both commercial and government platforms, and India, where they’re going to be one of the largest importers of defense goods over the next decade.” 

The new CEO is also looking to focus on innovation, stating that the company is considering bringing some of its commercial technology over to the defense market. The Pro Line Fusion, a platform that Ortberg led the launch for in 2007, is a system that he said could get some more capabilities added to it. Recently, Rockwell Collins formed an agreement that allows the automatic transfer of Jeppesen electronic charts via Wi-Fi and cellular networks to Pro Line Fusion and Pro Line 21-equipped aircraft.

According to a company statement, Jones–who officially retired as CEO Wednesday–will remain with the company as non-executive chairman.

Related: Rockwell Collins, Jeppesen Form New Data Agreement

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