Tom Kennedy. Credit: Raytheon

WASHINGTON — Tom Kennedy will succeed Raytheon Co.’s longtime chief executive, William Swanson, effective March 31, the Waltham, Mass., company announced Jan. 15.

Kennedy currently is Raytheon’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, a post he has held since April 2013.

Previously, he served as vice president of Raytheon Co. and president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. He also is a former vice president of Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems of El Segundo, Calif.

Swanson has served as the company’s top executive since March 2003. He will continue to serve as chairman of the company’s board of directors through the transition, the company said in a press release.

“Tom Kennedy is a proven leader with a broad understanding of key technologies, keen customer focus, and a deep understanding of Raytheon’s business,” Vern Clark, lead director of Raytheon, said in the release.  “Raytheon is well-positioned both domestically and internationally, and with Tom’s experience, we are confident that he will lead our Company successfully in this dynamic global business environment.”

Raytheon is involved in several high-profile space acquisition competitions, including the Family of Advanced Beyond-Line-of-Sight Terminals for strategic communications via satellite, and an advanced space surveillance system known as the Space Fence. Raytheon is also leading a team hoping to win a consolidated contract to support the nation’s two main launch ranges.

All three contracts, each expected to be worth more than $1 billion, will be awarded in 2014.

Raytheon also is a major missile defense contractor and provides sensors and software primarily for U.S. government space programs.

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.