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Bill Swanson

38 - Bill Swanson
2012 Rank: 56

Chairman & CEO, Raytheon
The defense industry has seen a new wave of top executives sweep into power in the last couple of years, executives dedicated to buffering margins and cutting research and development costs. Swanson, one of the few remaining who was around during the last defense downturn, has been bucking the trend to cut R&D, bolstering his company’s spending by roughly $200 million in the last few years. That investment has led to some tectonic wins for the company, including the Air and Missile Defense Radar contract, which pushed aside longtime incumbent Lockheed Martin. That award is being protested. Raytheon also beat BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman to win a Navy next-generation jammer award that was overturned on protest, which will prompt the Navy to recompete the award. Still, Swanson’s penchant for investment is also helping the company win business it’s keeping, and bolstering his reputation for getting results. No executive has as effectively shaped a company in his image as Swanson has in his more than four decades with Raytheon. His technical savvy and experience as an engineer are why he serves on more government defense panels and advisory boards than any of his counterparts. And his passion for education — he’s a longtime proponent of better science, technology, engineering and math education — drives his push for improved vocational institutions and community colleges to provide technical training for the future workforce. All of which means Swanson’s legacy will long outlive his tenure at Raytheon.


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