WASHINGTON — The chief executive of the parent company of Aerojet Rocketdyne announced Feb. 13 that he is taking over as president of the space propulsion company as the firm faces financial challenges.

In a Feb. 13 internal memo to employees obtained by SpaceNews, Scott Seymour, chief executive of parent company GenCorp, announced he was taking over as president of Aerojet Rocketdyne from Warren M. Boley, Jr., effective immediately. The memo gave no reason for Boley’s departure.

Warren Boley, who took over as president of Aerojet Rocketdyne in 2012, stepped down Feb. 13. Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Warren Boley, who took over as president of Aerojet Rocketdyne in 2012, stepped down Feb. 13. Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Aerojet Rocketdyne spokesman Glenn Mahone confirmed the contents of the memo late Feb. 13, but said no formal announcement of the leadership change was planned before the end of the day.

In the memo, Seymour said he was retaining his position as chief executive of GenCorp as he takes over as president of Aerojet Rocketdyne, but offered few details about the transition. “On behalf of the leadership team, I sincerely thank Warren for his many contributions during his time with the company,” he said in the memo. “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Boley, who joined Aerojet as its president in July 2012, became president of Aerojet Rocketdyne in June 2013 when Aerojet completed its acquisition of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. Boley had worked for 27 years at Pratt & Whitney prior to joining Aerojet, including serving as president of its military engines division.

The leadership change comes after the company reported a loss in its latest fiscal year. In financial results reported Jan. 30, GenCorp reported a net loss of $53 million in fiscal year 2014, which ended Nov. 30, compared to net income of $167.9 million in fiscal year 2013. Nearly all of GenCorp’s revenue comes from operations of Aerojet Rocketdyne.

GenCorp said part of that loss came from pre-tax cost growth of $23.6 million on the AJ-26 rocket engine, which Aerojet Rocketdyne had been providing to Orbital Sciences Corp. (now Orbital ATK) for its Antares rocket. That engine has been identified as the likely cause of an Oct. 28 Antares launch failure, and Orbital announced in December it was replacing the AJ-26 with the RD-181 engine built by Russia’s NPO Energomash.

In filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Jan. 30, GenCorp warned that if the AJ-26 engine is found at fault in the Antares launch failure, “we may face significant claims for damages from Orbital which, if determined adversely to us, could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition, and/or cash flows.”

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...